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Statement of Interim Chief of Police Sonya T. Proctor on Metropolitan Police Department Ethics and Integrity
December 15, 1997

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Code of Ethics

The power of the police to fulfill their functions is dependent upon securing and maintaining community respect and approval, which includes obtaining the community's willingness to cooperate in the task of ensuring safety. The extent to which the community will cooperate with the Metropolitan Police Department is dependent upon its respect for, and confidence in, the police. The extent to which the community's respect and trust can be secured is diminished when a member of the department acts in an unprofessional, improper, dishonest, or unlawful manner.

In any effort to strengthen the citizen-police officer relationship, the personal conduct and attitude of the police officer is of paramount importance. Each member of the force must understand that the basis of the police service is a desire and a willingness to serve the community. In order to earn the respect and trust of the community, all sworn and civilian employees of the Metropolitan Police Department must subscribe to the following:

Members shall regard their office as a public trust and, in the discharge of their duties, be constantly mindful of their primary obligation to serve the community honestly, efficiently, and effectively.

Members shall administer the law in a just, impartial, and reasonable manner and shall not accord to some more reasonable treatment than to others. They shall recognize the limitations of their authority and at no time use the power of their office for their own personal advantage.

Members must observe, uphold, and enforce all laws without bias or prejudice, and without regard to the individual or individuals involved.

Members shall recognize their responsibility as public servants and shall be particularly attentive to citizens seeking assistance, information, who desire to register complaints, or give evidence.

Members shall cooperate fully with all other public officials to the end that the safety and general welfare of the community will be insured.

Members must conduct their private and professional lives in such a manner as to avoid bringing discredit upon themselves, the department, or the community. The community must regard them as examples of honesty, stability, fidelity, and morality.

Members must not conduct themselves in a manner which might be construed by the community as  immoral, indecent, or unprofessional.

Members shall not engage in any relationships which might be construed as evidence of favoritism,  unfairness, partiality, or unfair advantage. Members shall serve all members of the community in a fair, impartial, and professional manner.

Metropolitan Police Department Ethics and Integrity

The Metropolitan Police Department's integrity has been called into question by the recent events concerning individual cases of corruption which have resulted in an arrest and a continuing federal grand jury investigation. The community's confidence in the department has been shaken at two levels: the department's integrity as an organization and the personal integrity of its members. One broad brush has been used to paint most members in the Metropolitan Police Department the same way. This is very unfair to our 3,600 men and women, most of whom have the highest personal integrity.

I am not here, however, to present a defense. I am here to reassure the community of the Metropolitan Police Department's commitment to honest and effective community service. Within two days of being named Interim Chief of Police, I met with both the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to coordinate the efforts of our three agencies to focus on allegations of misconduct within the department.

I received commitments from both Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Lou Leary and Assistant Director Tom Pickard of the FBI Washington Metropolitan Field Office to work as a team to focus on misconduct cases. The addition of the D.C. Inspector General to augment the team is welcome. The goal is to identify misconduct and criminal behavior and aggressively move forward with first, criminal prosecution, and then administrative action if appropriate.

Today, I am publishing a Code of Ethics which will communicate unequivocally to our employees the standards I believe the community has a right to expect from its public servants. The Code of Ethics is intended to reinforce just that fact: police officers are public servants and we must be responsive to and earn the confidence of the community we serve.

I can assure you that I take this Code of Ethics seriously, as I have for each and every day of the past 23 years that I have served the citizens of the District of Columbia. I fully expect every man and woman employed by the Metropolitan Police Department, whether sworn or civilian, irrespective of rank, grade or position, to fully share those values.

Last week, I directed Assistant Chief Rodney D. Monroe to review the department's internal citizen complaint process, with the objective of making it more responsive to the community. He is to review the department's response to complaints and concerns raised by citizens across the entire spectrum, from serious personal misconduct to general service complaints. The goal of his  review is a process which is responsive to the citizen; a process which treats the citizen honestly and fairly; a system which gives the citizen a timely and personal response; a system which the community perceives to be fair and effective. Assistant Chief Monroe is to complete this review and propose changes that will be implemented no later than 60 days from today.

This week, I will be asking members of the Chief of Police Citizen Advisory Council to represent the community in this effort. They will participate fully as partners in Assistant Chief Monroe's review.

At the same time, I am providing more resources, both personnel and material, to the Office of Internal Affairs. I have directed Internal Affairs to aggressively pursue criminal and serious administrative misconduct investigations, to include the imposition of administrative sanctions and/or referrals for criminal prosecution.

It will be the policy of the Metropolitan Police Department that a sustained citizen complaint of misconduct will result in serious disciplinary action.

The Metropolitan Police Department will also provide the Mayor, the Council, and the community with a regular report on the disposition of all citizen complaints.

In conclusion, let me say that I am absolutely and personally committed to regaining the community trust we have lost in recent weeks. I sincerely believe that the vast majority of the men and women of this agency join me in that commitment. The officers and sergeants in the PSA's know how important it is to have the respect and trust of the community in order to work together with citizens to solve the many problems we face. I also demand this same level of commitment to integrity and excellence from the department's command staff, managers, and supervisors. Those who feel unable to join with us, have no place in public service.

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