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Charles H. Ramsey, Chief of Police Designate
Written Testimony to the Council of the District of Columbia
April 20, 1998




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


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At his confirmation hearing, Chief Ramsey submitted, but did not read, the following written testimony. He did read this same statement at his swearing-in ceremony on April 21, 1998.

I am honored and humbled that you have selected me to be the next Chief of Police for the District of Columbia, and I am truly excited by the prospect of leading this police department into the new millennium. The Metropolitan Police Department is a good police department — with good and talented people within its ranks, and a good citizenry supporting it. But "good" is simply not good enough for me. I will expect more from the men and women of the MPD, from the members of this community, and from myself. I will expect — and accept — nothing less than the MPD becoming the finest police department in the nation. And I will expect — and accept — nothing less than the District of Columbia assuming its rightful as the safest major city in the United States.

Today is a new beginning for the Metropolitan Police Department — with a new attitude, a new confidence, a new set of expectations for the future. What can you expect from the MPD of the future?

  • You can expect a police department rooted in, and guided by, certain core values: honesty, integrity, respect for one another and for the community, fairness, dedication, commitment, and accountability for individual actions and organizational results. I will live these values every day I am your Chief. And I will insist that all the members of the MPD do the same.
  • You can expect open, honest, and ongoing communications between the MPD and our customers, the community. I am committed to establishing a close and lasting partnership between our police officers and our residents. And I recognize that to create such a partnership will require the continuous sharing of ideas and information. 1, personally, will set the example when it comes to communication, internally and with the community. In the short term, I intend to hold town hall meetings throughout the District and visit roll calls and other meetings with my personnel — all to hear what's on their minds and to solicit new ideas. For the long term, I intend to establish new and efficient ways of gathering and sharing information with the community — through regular community meetings, through new technologies such as the Internet and cable television, through being accessible to the news media, and in everyday contacts with citizens.
  • You can expect an efficient, well-managed police department. A police department that attracts and retains a diverse group of qualified and highly motivated professionals. A police department that provides superior training, both to its recruits as well as experienced members. A police department that provides its members with the equipment, technology and information they need to do their jobs. A police department in which the organization supports — and does not interfere with — the work of its officers. And a police department that is efficiently staffed to respond quickly to crime hot spots, while being flexible enough to anticipate emerging crime problems through a greater presence in the neighborhoods.
  • You can expect safer communities and an improved quality of life in all neighborhoods. Ultimately, these are the bottom-line measures of success. I intend to achieve this success through a new community policing model that responds to the needs of the District. Defining and implementing this new policing model will take some time. But two elements of this new strategy will be certain: partnerships with the community and a problem-solving approach to crime reduction and control.

These are some of the changes you can expect from me, personally, and from the Department as a whole under my leadership. At the same time, the Metropolitan Police Department will expect some changes from the community as well. First and foremost, we will expect the community to recognize that responsibility for the safety of this District goes well beyond the police. The police have a unique and central role in public safety, and the MPD will fulfill that role with honor and distinction. But responsibility for our communities also rests with residents, business people and their employees, other municipal agencies, elected officials, and everyone else who has a stake in our collective future.

As Chief of Police, I will provide all of these stakeholders with new and meaningful ways to get involved with the police in enhancing neighborhood safety. But I will also expect that the community will step forward and take advantage of the opportunities the MPD provides. We will continue to need the community's eyes and ears; we need you to call the police when you see crime. But we will need your minds and bodies as well. We will need all stakeholders to roll up your sleeves and work with us in the difficult but rewarding task of solving neighborhood crime problems and strengthening communities.

Expect excellence ... expect success. That is my message to the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department, to the people who live and work here in the District, to the political leadership of the District, to the news media, to all. You have placed an enormous trust in me. For that, I am grateful and extraordinarily proud. With your support, I will do everything in my power to live up to the trust and responsibility you have placed in me.

Together we can make the Metropolitan Police Department the best police department there is. And together we can make this City — our nation's crown jewel — the safest major city in the country. Today is the start of a new beginning for all of us.

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Written Response to Council Questions

1. Please delineate your qualifications for the position to which you have been nominated.

During my 20 years as a supervisor in the Chicago Police Department, I have acquired extensive management, budgetary and administrative experience in an unusual range of varied assignments. These experiences have given me unique insight into both the administrative and operational functions of a major city police department and have contributed to the formation of my own vision of policing. The following chronicle of my career in the Chicago Police Department illustrates this experience.

Deputy Superintendent, Bureau of Staff Services:

  • Co-Manager of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) with department-wide responsibility for planning and oversight of the community policing project.
  • Preparation of the approximately $10 million annual operating budget for the five units within the Bureau — the Education and Training, Research and Development, and Preventive Programs and Neighborhood Relations Divisions; the Management and Labor Affairs Section; and Professional Counseling Services.
  • Lead negotiator for the most recent contract negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the two civilian unions, AFSCME and Unit II. This resulted in successful agreements being reached and, for the first time in the case of the FOP, without even the threat of interest arbitration. Directed the first ever contract negotiations between the City and the Police Benevolent and Protective Association (PBPA) representing sergeants, lieutenants and captains.
  • Re-engineered the Department's education and training function to include professional development and community training.

Deputy Chief, Patrol Division Administration:

  • As Administrative Aide to the Chief of Patrol, oversaw the operations of all 25 police districts and the Special Functions Group, more than 8,000 sworn members. Served as Chief of Patrol in his absence.
  • Spearheaded the Department's community policing effort since its inception in 1992. Developed the operational model and managed the entire CAPS implementation including resource deployment, training, marketing, communications and coordinating with other City agencies.
  • Assisted in the preparation of the Patrol Division's annual operating budget which exceeded $450 million in personnel costs alone.

Commander, Narcotics Section, the 11th District, and Area 1 Detectives:

  • Supervised field commands ranging in size from 100 to 400 members.
  • Prepared a variety of annual operating budgets, including the administering of the Department's State and Federal asset forfeiture drug funds.
  • Led the Harrison District, one of the largest and most crime-ridden districts in the Department. During my tenure as Commander, the district experienced the largest reduction in violent crime of any district in Chicago.

Other Assignments:

  • Prior to my appointment to the exempt ranks, served in units that provided police service to north, south and west side communities. This first-hand experience has given me a unique understanding of the public safety needs of diverse communities.

The greatest challenge I have faced in my 30-year career in the Chicago Police Department, however, came from my work as the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) Co-Manager. Without question, the development and implementation of the CAPS model represents the CPD's most significant change in three decades. I was given unique responsibility to develop the operational model for CAPS and oversee its introduction, first in five "prototype" police districts, then citywide.

2. Please attach a copy of your 5-year employment contract for this position.

See Addendum A. [Not available on-line.]

3. Do you have any rea/property in the District of Columbia, including your primary residence?


4. How long have you continuously resided in the District of Columbia? If you are not a District of Columbia resident at this time, do you intend to move into the District?

I do not currently reside in the District. I intend to live in the District upon my appointment as Chief of Police.

5. Are you currently an officer or director of any corporation, partnership or other profit or non-profit organization or business which does business with the District of Columbia government?


6. Do you or any member of your immediate family have any financial interest in any business or enterprise which may directly or indirectly pose a conflict of interest for you in the performance of your duties?


7. Do you currently hold any paid office or position in the District of Columbia government? Are you a member of any board or commission established by the District government?


8. Do you currently hold any office or position paid or unpaid with the federal government?


9. Do you currently have any outstanding tax bills owed to the District of Columbia or federal government, either contested or uncontested?


10. (A) In Chicago, what is the procedure for investigating citizen complaints of police misconduct? (B) There is legislation pending in the Council's Committee on the Judiciary which proposes the establishment of an Office of Citizen Complaint Review. The Office would have the authority to review citizen's complaints of alleged police misconduct, including: (1) harassment, (2) use of unnecessary or excessive force, (3) use of language or conduct that is insulting, demeaning, or humiliating, (4) discriminatory treatment based upon a person's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, physical handicap, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income or place of residence or business, or (5) retaliation against a person for filing a complaint pursuant to the act Do you believe that citizen review of alleged police misconduct is advisable?

There are two units in the Chicago Police Department which are charged with the responsibility of investigating citizen complaints. They are the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) and the Internal Affairs Division (IAD).

The policy of the Chicago Police Department is to vigorously investigate allegations of misconduct that are lodged against members of the Department, whether sworn or civilian. Any supervisor who either observes misconduct, or receives an allegation of misconduct — regardless of the source — must register that complaint within one hour and initiate an investigation. Additionally, any citizen can register a complaint

directly with the Department at any time of the day or night by directly contacting OPS.

The Office of Professional Standards is under the direction of an Administrator who reports directly to the Superintendent of Police, and is staffed with civilian investigators. OPS is charged with the responsibility of investigating all complaints of excessive force directed against members of the Department, as well as other critical incidents including the use of deadly force, and instances where persons suffer serious injuries or death while in police custody or as a result of contact with the police.

The Internal Affairs Division is commanded by an Assistant Deputy Superintendent who also reports directly to the Superintendent of Police. This division is staffed by sworn personnel. IAD is responsible for the investigation of allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct lodged against Department members, as well as the detection of corrupt practices. To achieve that goal, IAD uses both overt and covert investigative techniques.

The men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department are part of the community. As such they are accountable to the community. Accordingly, any action or inaction on the part of members of our Department should always be subject to scrutiny and review by the community — however, citizens and police officers alike are entitled to due process. My goal is to restructure the MPD in such a manner that will ensure that every member of the MPD — from myself and the command staff down to the officer on the beat — is accountable for his or her actions. I am not familiar with the legislation before Council. I will review it to see if it is the most effective way to achieve our common goal of honest, ethical, community-oriented policing.

11. (A) Please describe the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS). (B) How many years did it take to implement this program? (C) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the program? (D) Would this type of program work in Washington, D.C.?

CAPS is a community-oriented policing model that stimulates the police and community members to work closely together in new ways to solve problems of crime and neighborhood disorder and to improve the quality of life in Chicago's neighborhoods. Implementation of CAPS has required the wholesale transformation of the Chicago Police Department from a largely centralized, incident-driven, crime-suppression agency to a more decentralized, customer-driven organization dedicated to solving problems, preventing crime, and improving the quality of life in each of Chicago's neighborhoods.

CAPS officially rolled out in April of 1993, on a prototype basis, in five of Chicago's twenty-five police districts. Taken together, these five CAPS prototypes provided a unique and successful laboratory for evaluating and improving the CAPS operational model before a city-wide expansion of the program began. In the early months of 1994, CAPS began incrementally expanding to each of the 20 non-prototype districts and is now operational citywide. Several basic elements form the foundation of CAPS:

Proactive Problem Solving — with CAPS, crime and disorder issues are addressed through more than just reactive policing (although responding to emergencies and arresting offenders remain an important part of a police officers best of traditional police tactics are combined with a more proactive approach to preventing crimes and solving problems at the neighborhood level. A goal of this proactive approach is to ultimately reduce calls for service by addressing some of the underlying causes, conditions, and problems that lead to crime and neighborhood disorder.

Partnership with the Community — With CAPS, the police and community members work together to identify problems, set priorities, and develop a joint plan of action. This partnership begins at the grassroots level, on each of Chicago's 279 beats. Officers assigned to each beat host meetings on a monthly basis with residents, who have also been trained to use the CAPS 5-step problem solving model.

Support of Other City Agencies — With CAPS, the support of other City agencies is key to addressing problems of neighborhood disorder and improving the quality of life. This feature sets CAPS apart from community policing efforts in many other cities. Ultimately, everyone must develop a collective intolerance for crime, violence, and neighborhood decay. To ensure the support of City government, special procedures for requesting and following up on requests for City services were tested in the prototype districts and phased in citywide during the first half of 1994. Abandoned buildings and vehicles, graffiti, broken street lights and other neighborhood conditions that affect public safety are given top priority by other City agencies.

Departmentwide Change With CAPS, the entire Department is changing to support the other elements of this policing strategy. The Department is becoming more decentralized, flexible and supportive of its members.

Use of Technology — With CAPS police officers in the field have access to the Information Collection for Automated Mapping (ICAM) system, a simple, speedy and accurate crime mapping system. ICAM allows officers and community members to collect and analyze data at the beat level to support problem solving.

CAPS was designed to specifically address Chicago's unique needs and problems. Likewise, the District's policing model must be designed to meets its unique needs. Clearly, however, our new policing model will include the key elements that I have listed above.

12. To what extent do you intend to involve the citizens of the District of Columbia in assisting or advising you as the new Chief of MPD?

Establishing a partnership where the community plays an active and vital role will be the cornerstone of the new MPD policing model. Key in any good partnership is open and continual two-way communication. This dialogue will take place on many levels. As Chief, I plan to immediately meet directly with residents in a number of town hall meetings. Over the long term, I will seek assistance and advice through regular contact with community leaders and residents, representing all parts of the District. Recognizing that I can't meet personally with every resident, however, I pledge to be open and accessible to the news media so that I can effectively convey my programs and priorities. Even more important than assistance and advice I'll receive as Chief, is the assistance and advice that community members will provide to the police officers supervisors who work in their communities. In time, this dialogue will occur at regular community meetings and problem-solving sessions in each of the District's PSAs.

13. Do you have plans to hire staff with whom you worked in Chicago?

Yes. I hope to recruit a small staff complement of nationally-recognized experts in such critical areas as operational management, training, grant development, technology and corporate communications.

14. Do you believe that the Metropolitan Police Department officers and other MPD personnel should reside in the District of Columbia?

As mentioned earlier, I intend to live in the District. And while I hope other officers will follow my lead, I believe that more important than where officers reside is their willingness to get to know and understand the people they serve and the problems they face. I pledge to you that any policing model that the MPD institutes will achieve this goal. I will also look very carefully at new incentives that will encourage and support MPD officers to live in the District.

15. Have you identified any key issues with MPD requiring your immediate attention? If so, what are they?

It is premature to identify any one key issue at this time. My first few weeks will be spent assessing the situation and talking to both citizens, police officers and government leaders and reviewing management consultant's reports. However, due to the many problems facing MPD — including allegations of mismanagement — it is essential that a thorough audit of all operational standards and procedures be conducted. This should include, but not be limited to, an assessment of organizational integrity and effectiveness; manpower usage and performance; internal affairs; overtime policies and practices; management of property and evidence inventory; computer technology; and accounting practices and fiscal management. Immediately upon my being confirmed, I will begin the process of identifying a consulting firm that can perform this function. Upon receipt of the audit findings, I will direct the development of strategic solutions to the problems that have been identified in the audit and organize efforts for the implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan.

16. What is the practice Chicago with regard to outside employment of officers, and what do you intend the policy to be here in Washington, D.C.

The Chicago Police Department has a General Order that regulates outside employment or "secondary employment" as it is called in Chicago.

Members of the Department, whether in the District of Columbia or Chicago, must realize that their obligation to the Department takes priority over any other employment. There must be a policy in place which serves to insure that our employees are capable of meeting the demanding requirements of our profession, and to protect both the Department and individuals officers from conflicts of interest or the appearance of impropriety. Chicago's policy on secondary employment places specific restrictions on members:

  • Secondary employment is limited to a total of 20 hours per week;
  • Members are not allowed to accept employment where they would be required to access Department records or files;
  • Members are not allowed to work in establishments where the primary business is the sale of alcoholic beverages; and
  • Members may not wear their uniforms while working secondary employment unless authorized specifically by the Superintendent of Police.

Believing that the top ranks of the Department should serve as a positive example, the CPD policy is even stricter when it comes to command personnel. Command staff are only allowed to teach, write, or practice as a professional (e.g., attorney or CPA). They are strictly prohibited from having any interest in or being employed by any investigative or security agency.

My message is simple but clear — the primary obligation of every MPD member is to the people of the District and to the Department. I intend to carefully look at the issue of outside employment, to carefully assess the effect of the current policy, and if there are problems, to work to mutually resolve them.

Addendum A: 5-Year Contract

Not available on-line.

Addendum B: Resume

Chief Ramsey's résumé is available here.

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