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Charles H. Ramsey, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department
Testimony to the House Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on the District of Columbia
June 24, 1998




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Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Request
Recruiting, Training and Performance Standards
Crime Strategies
Organizational Development
Information Technology

Good afternoon, Chairman Taylor and members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Fiscal Year 1999 budget for the Metropolitan Police Department.


The Metropolitan Police Department is beginning to make progress in the right direction — forward. However, to sustain this progress I need the active support of all law enforcement stakehoiders in the District of Columbia, a group which includes the United States Congress. The department’s Fiscal Year 1999 budget requests a total spending authorization of $300,370,000 to include $277,096,000 in local funding and $23,274,000 in grant funding The local funding figure is further divided into $243,577,000 for personal services (88%) and $33,519,000 for non-personal services (12%). The Capital Improvement Plan allocates the department $21,900,000 in capital funding, $17,900,000 to support continued development and implementation of the department's Information Technology Plan and $4,000,000 as seed money to begin repairs and upgrades to the department's long neglected physical plant infrastructure. The budget requests a personnel authorization of 4,422 FTE's: 3,600 sworn and 822 civilian.

The Fiscal Year 1999 budget request allows me to continue progress with existing programs, while starting both long- and short-term initiatives. The budget includes $19 million to support sworn and civilian pay raises to help to recruit and retain talented employees; $4 million in master lease authority to put the department's vehicle fleet on a consistent replacement cycle; and a realistic overtime funding level of $15 million.

A core value that I demand of myself and this organization is honesty. The FY 1999 budget reflects a departure from recent budget practice. Within the department's FY 1999 personal services funding level is a realistic overtime funding level of $15,000,000: $14 million for sworn court and non-court overtime, and $1 million for civilian overtime. In past budgets, the overtime figure was dramatically under-budgeted, with the department relying on vacant positions and lapsed salaries to fill the spending gap. The FY 1999 overtime funding level appears to be 63% higher than the FY 1998 budgeted-level of $9.2 million. However, the projected FY 1998 overtime spending level is in excess of $18 million. The proposed FY 1999 figure actually represents a decrease from FY 1998. The department expects to continue its overtime spending reductions that are the result of strict overtime controls imposed at the beginning of calendar year 1998.

As the Committee is aware, the department received a special $15 million Congressional grant two years ago. A total of $10,138,525 has been expended: in other words, goods have been ordered and received. There is an additional $2,957,686 obligated for various projects for which goods and services have not, as yet, been delivered. The remaining $1,903,789 in uncommitted funding is primarily for renovations to the department's eight holding facilities to achieve compliance with standards required by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. A design and engineering study, contracted through the U.S. General Services Administration, was completed in May by an architectural engineering firm. The study is currently being reviewed to ensure that accreditation standards are addressed properly and that the project is within budget. The review will be completed this month and it is expected that construction will begin in late summer.

Upon my appointment as the Chief of Police, l declared a “new beginning” for the Metropolitan Police Department. As with any new beginning, there will be changes in the department, and these changes will be significant and far-reaching. The changes we make will be significant and systemic, but they will also be carefully planned and executed. They will be based on thorough research and a hands-on assessment by me of this Department and its relationship with the community. I plan to accomplish this by continuing what I have already begun in the last few months: opening up lines of communication within the department and between the department and the community, including members of Congress.

My focus is on three key areas: 1) assessing the critical needs of the community and the police department; 2) building leadership capacity within the Department; and, 3) developing a plan of action for the future.

During the past two months I have spoken with members of all ranks of the department at roll calls, during ride-alongs, and in comprehensive interviews with my command staff. I have also met with community leaders at town hall meetings across the District to identify the crime and disorder problems of most concern to the community, their opinions of current police services, and their views on the relationship between the police and the community. Meetings with community, business and government leaders, as well as media and police union officials, have helped me learn their priorities and the contributions they can make to the community policing partnership here in the District. In assessing the needs of the community and the Department, I have also reviewed the findings of recent management studies and reports which will provide valuable information that will help us plan for the future.

To begin forging a meaningful community policing partnership, I am sending a joint Metropolitan Police Department-community-D.C. Government delegation to Beyond the Rhetoric: Facing the Challenges of Community Policing in Chicago this August. Beyond the Rhetoric is a national conference which will examine the steps needed for communities to advance community policing and ensure public safety. During the conference, the participants will be exposed to Chicago's successful CAPS community policing strategy. They will learn how the community, their police department, and their government can work together to make their city safer.

By using the funding available for training in the department’s Comprehensive Communities Program grant, I am able to send a group of the department’s commanders, supervisors and patrol officers; community representatives from the seven patrol district Citizen Advisory Councils; representatives from the Office of the Chief Management Officer and other D.C. Government agencies; and representatives from the District of Columbia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. I look for Beyond the Rhetoric to be a very successful learning experience for all of the participants. The department will benefit from the relationships and sense of real community participation that is established among the participants.

These past few months have shown me that there are a large number of bright and competent men and women in the Metropolitan Police Department who share my vision and want to make this department work. I am convinced that the changes I envision to make the department the finest, most community-oriented police department in the nation are shared by many in the community who earnestly want to work with the department to help make this city safer. By our working together, the District of Columbia will assume its rightful place as the safest major city in the United States.

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Internally, my assessment has focused on the needs of both our individual members and our organization as a whole. Based upon what I have learned already in this short period of time, I have already taken certain actions. To help ensure our future, I fully intend to recruit the most capable and qualified men and women from around the country. The Metropolitan Police Department must attract candidates who can effectively police the streets of our city now and into the 21st century.

The skills needed by our police officers in the remainder of this century and into the next is totally different than what has been needed in the past. Coupled with this we also need to establish improved educational standards for promotion to the various ranks within the organization. I am proposing that beginning January 1,1999, recruits be required to have at least 60 hours of completed college courses, and recruits who join after September 1, 2002, have a bachelor’s degree. I also expect to establish minimum education requirements for each of the department’s sworn ranks no later than September 30,1998.

The department’s Recruiting Branch hired 255 new and senior police officers in the twelve-month period from June 1, 1997, through May 31, 1998. Of those officers, 162 were hired in the current fiscal year.

The Metropolitan Police Department currently has 3,588 sworn personnel and 693 full-time civilians. Of the 3,588 sworn personnel, 3,201 (89.2 percent) are assigned to the department’s patrol function and to direct support such as criminal investigations, special tactical operations, and emergency response. I will be increasing the number of civilian employees to 822 to replace sworn members currently doing administrative work and reassigning them to the department’s Patrol Service Areas.

From June 1997 through May 1998, nine classes of over 200 recruit officers have graduated from the Metropolitan Police Academy. The recruit curriculum consisted of 1,055 hours of training. The recruit officers are required to complete two weeks of on the job training prior to graduation. All recruit officers are employed as conditional probationary officers until completion of their 18th month of service. Each officer is required to go before a Probationary Review Board to review their field performance prior to this 18th month anniversary. The curriculum content and length are consistent with those of other metropolitan police agencies throughout the country. The course length is equal to that of New York City, Dallas and Houston, Texas. The course is longer than the recruit course in Chicago and Detroit.

Two significant modifications were made to the curriculum in the past year. First, the new operating model was incorporated into the course in August 1997. This included information on the new Patrol Service Areas, problem-solving techniques, community policing principals, and effective communications. Secondly, training on the new Mobile Data Terminal and NCIC certification was added to the curriculum in February 1998. This assures that every new officer is prepared to use the new mobile computers upon their assignment to the patrol districts.

The Metropolitan Police Department is the only major municipal police agency with a resident phase of instruction. During this four-week phase of the curriculum, recruit officers stay on-site, in residence Monday through Friday. The resident phase allows the class to quickly develop esprit, establish good study habits, and develop teamwork principals that will be used throughout their police employment.

In-service training during the previous 12 months has included over 300 classes that have been attended by over 5,000 individuals. The highest course attendance was training in support of the new operating model. Over sixty 2-day Patrol Service Area Orientation classes were presented to over 2,900 officers. This training included problem solving, community policing principles, PSA organization and functions, ethics, and communications skills. Additionally, each of the 83 PSA Sergeants received 16 additional hours designed to prepare these first-line supervisors to meet the challenges of this new operating model.

A one-day training course on the new Mobile Data Terminals and NCIC certification has been offered three days a week since February. Members attending this course are certified to use the new mobile computers and are certified to conduct NCIC checks from their patrol cars.

The most exciting addition to the in-service training program within the past year has been the addition of the Self-Directed Development Program. This program is a computer based training system that was purchased through a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant. The system consists of a training development computer system and 24 training workstations. The development system allows the Training Division to develop computer based training programs that are then printed onto a compact disk and distributed to the 24 training workstations that are deployed to 13 separate locations (14 in the police districts and the remaining in six different divisions). This system allows officers to take training courses at the workstations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This training can take place as the officer’s schedule allows which minimizes their time away from patrol duties. Potentially, each officer could have the opportunity to complete over 50 hours of instruction using this system annually. The Metropolitan Police Department is the first agency in the country to deploy this type of computer assisted training system for in-service training. This program is designed to supplement other training programs and eventually will provide training which will be a prerequisite for attending traditional classroom courses.

As of June 3, 1998, all members authorized to carry a weapon have completed the first phase of their 1998 pistol requalification in accordance with department policy. Procedures are being implemented which will assure that all members remain current with their weapons re-qualification. Current department policy is that all members below the rank of Captain re-qualify twice each year. Captains and above are required to re-qualify once each year. I am changing this requirement so that all members, irrespective of rank, will qualify twice each calendar year.

A goal that is critical to the department’s future is a meaningful tuition reimbursement program that will encourage incumbent sworn employees to obtain an associate or bachelor's degree. The department should reimburse employees up to the amount charged for state residents who attend an accredited college or university, in an amount not to exceed $1,200 per semester. Members would be reimbursed for two courses of study per semester (six credit hours), contingent on a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and a Satisfactory rating or better on their current performance evaluation.

I am also addressing the issue of secondary, part-time employment. I will be submitting to the Mayor for forwarding to the City Council draft legislation that eliminates secondary employment in establishments that derive their primary source of income from the sale of alcoholic beverages to the public. I am also proposing that sworn personnel be prohibited from secondary employment in sexually-oriented businesses. The Fraternal Order of Police MPD Labor Committee has agreed to secondary employment restrictions and I believe that any FOP Labor Committee objections to my legislative proposal will be minimal if the secondary employment issue is approached in a reasonable and fair manner.

Performance evaluations are completed on all civilian employees and sworn employees at the ranks of officer through lieutenant. The systems for both categories of employees focus on job behaviors that are common to all positions. The behaviors applicable to sworn employees at the officer rank are: job knowledge, problem-solving skills, professionalism, interpersonal relations skills, written and oral communication skills, work habits, general policing/investigations skills. The behaviors for sergeants and lieutenants reflect specific behaviors relating to their supervisory and management responsibilities.

The annual rating period for sworn employees is October 1 through September 30 of each year; for civilian employees the period is April 1 through March 31 of each year. A system for rating sworn employees the rank of captain and above is currently under development.

Beginning on April 1, 1999, the department will use ratings for sworn employees when making personnel decisions such as selection for specialized assignments and promotion; making compensation decisions; and conducting personnel research to validate selection, promotion, and training programs.

A working group is developing physical fitness standards for incumbent sworn employees for implementation on a voluntary basis on October 1, 1998. The physical fitness standards will become mandatory on January 1, 1999. As provided in the collective bargaining agreement, the department and the Fraternal Order of Police Metropolitan Police Labor Committee must complete negotiations within 90 days, once the standards are developed, linking the physical fitness standards to pay increases.

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The District of Columbia has experienced a 21 percent reduction in total Part I offenses since January 1st of this year when compared to the same time period last year. These reductions reflect the continued good efforts of the men and women of the department and the invaluable contribution that citizens are making to making our city safe once more. In particular, homicides have been reduced by 23 percent, robberies by 31 percent, assaults by 22 percent, burglaries by 25 percent, larcenies by 18 percent, and auto thefts by 16 percent. While we, the members of the department, are pleased with these reductions we also believe that they are not enough. As discussed elsewhere in this statement, I am undertaking several initiatives that I believe will contribute to a further reduction in crime

I have also begun to make police officers more visible on the streets. As the Subcommittee is aware, the department converted to a new Patrol Service Area operating structure in July of 1997. Our initial review of this new operating model indicates that the PSA are a viable means for reducing crime, for enhancing community-police interaction and cooperation, and for engaging in a problem-solving approach to solving community problems. Since July of last year, crime has decreased in 77 of our 83 PSAs, remained constant in four, and increased in only two. We will continue to asses the PSA structure to ensure that it is meeting the needs of the community and is an effective and efficient method for providing police services.

As you may have seen reported on the television, I have instituted periodic street roll calls in each of the seven patrol districts. They are intended to serve several purposes: to bring down barriers between citizens and the police; to demonstrate the department's role as an integral member of the community; and to send a message of increased police visibility to the criminal element. Our officers and the citizens we serve need to know that the Metropolitan Police Department is an interested and caring stakeholder in each neighborhood in our city.

We also need to establish a public safety model that incorporates the community and the entire criminal justice system. We can begin by building on the good approaches that have already been developed and tested, such as our PSA’s, the Community Justice Project in the Seventh District, and the Community Prosecution Project in the Fifth District.

The Metropolitan Police Department in collaboration with the court services and offender supervision agency for the District of Columbia is launching a Community Justice Program pilot project in PSA 704 in the Seventh district. The partnership will join the department, pretrial services, adult probation, and the D.C. Board of Parole with other city agencies, service providers, and residents of the community in a community based support and supervision model. The pilot project seeks to: increase the accountability of pretrial defendants, probationers, and paroles; make pretrial, probation, and parole supervision more relevant and accountable to the community; improve public safety; and prevent recidivism. In pursuit of the long-term goals, this project aspires to develop new services and activities necessary to improve supervision; to increase clients' accountability; and to take advantage of the support networks in the community that probationers and parolees will rely upon as they work to comply with their conditions of release. The program will also build networks of support where community support for clients is lacking and establish lines of communication among participating agencies.

For years, law enforcement experts have recognized the benefits of community policing in reducing the incidence of crime and improving the quality of life for residents. Two core components of community policing are community partnership and problem solving. The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia recognized the importance of forming a partnership with the police and the community in order to better address the needs of that community and solve problems in a more coordinated fashion. In June 1996 the United States Attorney began a Community Prosecution Project pilot program in the Fifth District. The goals of the project are to create new and lasting partnerships with the community in order to better address the concerns of those who live, work, and visit the District; to improve the police prosecutor relationship and the relationship with other public and private agencies with which the USAO works. It is also expected that there will be an improvement in the overall quality of life for the city's residents and guests in the targeted neighborhoods.

Two Assistant U.S. Attorneys have been designated as Community Prosecutors and staff a satellite USAO office located at the Fifth District Police Station. They assist officers with legal matters, serve as community liaisons, attend community meetings and act as a clearinghouse for citizen complaints, regardless of the nature of the problem. In fact, the work of these Assistant U.S. Attorneys was very instrumental in the revitalization of the District's Public Nuisance Task Force. Since its inception, the CP Project pilot has begun to form the partnerships needed for success: the working relationship between the PSA attorneys and the officers and detectives is tremendous and the investigative assistance that each brings to the other has been invaluable.

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I intend to recruit nationally to fill key leadership positions where the department lacks indigenous talent. To successfully transform this agency, I need to build a team of management professionals who are loyal and trustworthy, who possess superior management skills, who share my vision for the future and who can motivate others to work toward that vision. Some of our future leaders will come from outside the department. I have already begun to build my new leadership team with professionals who have extensive backgrounds in criminal justice, including the newly appointed Executive Assistant Chief of Police for Operations, Terrance W. Gainer.

I am convinced that improving the quality of police service in the District will depend upon creating an efficient and well-managed department. To better ascertain organizational needs, I intend to contract with an independent firm, experienced in auditing law enforcement agencies, to conduct a thorough, objective audit of all Department operations.

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The Metropolitan Police Department has embarked on an ambitious Information Technology Program to bring the department from the past into the future. Over the years, the department has not focused the needed level of attention on IT issues. The four year Information Technology Plan is designed to correct the mistakes of the past and bring the Metropolitan Police Department back onto the leading edge of technology. The FY 99 capital budget includes $17.9 million in funding for on-going information technology investment — investment that will permit substantial completion of the Department’s information technology initiative which will increase officer efficiency.

The Information Technology Plan includes transition management and support. The change in emphasis from “custom” programs to “off the shelf” programs provides increased flexibility and increases competition for expensive IT contract services. maintenance contracts and training for IT staff members have also been included in the plan.

The Records Management System (RMS) is the hub of all IT improvements and provides the systems integration that is essential to a comprehensive and efficient IT program. With the RMS as the hub and various components of the IT system as spokes in the wheel, users and managers will be empowered to make informed decisions based on sound and up to date information.

The RMS will replace the department's obsolescent mainframe computer and dramatically improve flow and functionality of information. It will serve as the central connection point for every agency within the District of Columbia government, and over 30 external federal agencies for access to the FBl’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) extensive data base. The RMS also provides a platform for future connectivity and data access by surrounding jurisdictions.

The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) allows the Metropolitan Police Department to quickly identify arrested persons from both known (inked) and latent (unknown prints recovered on crime scenes) fingerprints. This is an important investigative tool that has resulted in the timely identification of more perpetrators that could be accomplished utilizing the older, traditional technique of comparing latent to inked fingerprint cards. AFIS automates this process and saves significant time and resources. It should be noted that the department's AFIS was upgraded with state-of-the-art hard- and software in late 1997 through funding provided by the $15 million Congressional grant.

Distributed Identification (DID) allows for arrested persons to be processed at all booking elements; not just the Central Cell Block. Arrested persons are fingerprinted, photographed, and processed in a more efficient and timely manner. DID permits remote access of AFIS making the booking process more efficient. Arrested persons do not have to be transported to the Central Cell Block for identification, a considerable savings in officers man-hours. The department began installing LiveScan, a state-of-the-art remote identification system which is linked to the department's AFIS. Installation is expected to be completed by the end of August 1998. This system was also funded through the special Congressional grant, and will be able to link with other criminal justice agencies in the District of Columbia.

The department has already started training to prepare end users for the new RMS and its components. Patrol officers and supervisors assigned to the 83 PSA's have been trained in the use of the newly installed Mobil Digital Computers (MDC’s,) which are currently capable of providing access to WALES and NCIC files. These line officers and supervisors have also been re-certified as NCIC users and are in compliance with the training requirements mandated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for all NCIC users.

The MDT’s purchased by the department are state-of-the art with a Windows 95 operating system, Pentium processor, and color touch-screen. These rugged portable computers have been well received by officers in the PSA's. Officers in the PSA's can make their own WALES and NCIC inquiries, reducing air time on crowded radio frequencies.

The Metropolitan Police Department is preparing to move to a new joint communications center that will consolidate police, fire, and EMS communications operations in a single location at 320 McMillan Drive NW. Completion of this modern facility is scheduled for 2000. This will allow for more efficient use of resources and improved operations. Purchase of new communications consoles, a new Computer Assisted Dispatch System (CAD), and migration to the 800 MHz spectrum are designed to ensure efficient communications operations for future years.

Presently, there are no 800 MHz frequencies in the metropolitan area for use by the department. To address this problem, we have determined that the most cost effective and prudent solution is to update the current 460 UHF spectrum to a digital system. The department has already purchased (5) digital base stations and 1029 portable radios capable of migrating to the 800 MHz spectrum when the requisite number of frequencies becomes available.

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The condition of our physical plant is of tremendous concern to me. In just my initial visits, I have found many of our district stations, as well as our training academy, our firearms range and other facilities, to be antiquated, inadequate, and in some cases, unsafe. To be effective in fighting crime and working with the community, our members need decent and safe facilities in which to work.

A significant key to our future success is modern facilities that create a hospitable environment for visitors; safe and efficient working conditions for our employees; and the proper environment and systems for sophisticated technology systems. The recent failure of the main electrical systems at Police Headquarters underscores how critical the facilities infrastructure is to the operation of technology systems. The substandard, and oftentimes unsanitary and unsafe, working conditions in ail of the department's facilities, caused by years of neglect and the underfunding of building operations, makes it extremely difficult to maintain and project the professional image that we demand of our officers and which our public expects.

The department is preparing, with the much appreciated assistance of the District’s Chief Procurement Officer, Mr. Richard Fite, the necessary proposal to conduct a survey of its physical plant in order to identify deficiencies, prioritize repairs, and determine costs. It is my hope that the Congress will support our efforts by providing support beyond that included in the current Capital Improvement Plan.

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The Metropolitan Police Department has made substantial progress in many procurement areas during this fiscal year:

  • Purchased, installed and placed on-line upgraded Automated Fingerprint Identification System;
  • Purchased 177 Mobile Digital Computers (120 of which are currently installed);
  • Issued systems integration task orders under General Services Administration contracting authority to GTE, Inc., and Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc.;
  • Purchased and installed new radio system consoles in the Communications Division;
  • Contracted new vouchering program for uniform clothing and discontinued maintaining in-house uniform inventory;
  • Contracted architectural and engineering services for Holding Facilities Renovation project;
  • Purchased and installed Reverse-911 community notification system;
  • Contracted GSA services for air conditioning repairs for patrol district stations and other department facilities;
  • Purchased and installed LiveScan distributed identification system;
  • Purchased cameras, film, tape recorders, and digital cellular telephones to support Homicide Division investigators; and
  • Purchased 2,015 Level III soft body armor vests for patrol officers.

One way that the department is taking more proactive measures to manage the overtime budget is through the development of the “officer-less” papering project. This project is intended to eliminate the need for arresting officers to appear in court, in person, to place charges against a person they have arrested. The first step in the project was the development and implementation of a department-wide retraining effort to improve the quality of arrest report narratives written by arresting officers. If the officer includes all of the information required by the prosecutor to make the appropriate decision on which charges to place, the arresting officer is no longer needed to explain the circumstances or provide additional facts that were omitted at the time the report was prepared. The training component is nearing completion. The actual test phase of the project is schedule to begin on July 1, 1998. It is expected that the project will ultimately results in a reduction in the number of court appearances, leading in turn to a reduction in overtime costs.

The Metropolitan Police Department has outstanding working relationships with the regional federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Park Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Washington Metropolitan Field Office, and the field offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms, and the Immigration and Naturalization Services, the United States Marshal for the District of Columbia and the United States Secret Service. We also share in cooperative enforcement efforts with the Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Takoma Park Police Departments and the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

I look forward to the support of the Subcommittee and the Congress to make the Nation’s Capital the safest city in the United States. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to offer this testimony. I am prepared to respond to the Subcommittee's questions.

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