(Subtitle: Are the values of community policing antithetical-mutually incompatible to the values of those being attracted to becoming DC Police?)
Columbia Heights (14 th and T NW) scenario: 5 DC police officers are involved in the detention of a 15 year old Latina (Genesis Lumes) selling plantain tacoss at the corner of 14 th and Otis Place, NW. She does not have a vendor’s license. Her 8 year old brother is seen on the video crying. The police threaten to handcuff her and take to Child and Family Services Agency even after the Mother arrives. The Latina falls to the ground and cries out in pain: My knee! . The officers wind up taking all 3 of them to Chidren’s Hospital. No charges were filed. On crutches, Lumes declared that she was only trying to make money to help her single mother.
So, what is the issue? Is it said that they who frame the issue, win the issue. -Is the issue street vendors licensing. Maybe. Probably not. A teenager cannot even get a vendor’s license.
-Is it unsupervised children. Could be but probably not. -The core issue seems to be community police relations. Is this an example of community policing? Most would think not. It is true that here in DC people who sell items on the streets are required to have a vendor’s license. The fine is usually $300. All of the officers remain on duty and a police investigation is ongoing to discern if the police have violated any rules. What if a community police had encountered this situation. Maybe she would use critical thinking: If this teenager were selling herself as a sex worker, I should intervene. Walk her to her Mother’s home which I know the address. But instead, this girl is selling chips. I remember I began working at age 13 to help my parents. I delivered newspapers. I sold holiday cards. I mowed lawns. I dug postholes. My parents knew of all of my activities but they did not directly supervise. A community police might say: Genesis, how long will you be selling these tacos/ ½ hour? OK, be careful. Do not get into strangers’ vehicles. I will keep my eye out for you. Your mother Leticia knows where you are, right. Watch out for your brother Hector. I will see you in a half hour. What if there had been community policing? Walking beat officers Jose and Sandra would have greeting the children by name. They may have cited to the children the dangers of working on the sidewalks without an adult and the illegality of such. The police may have even known where the children live and walked them home. August 9, 2017, Mayor Muriel Bowser: “Our police department is one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country with very progressive community policing practices.” https://mayor.dc.gov/release/statement-mayor-bowser-announcement-united- states-attorney%E2%80%99s-office January 15, 2019, Mayor Bowser: “MPD will dedicate additional officers to community policing assignments that are deployed by foot, bike, Segway, and scooters.” https://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-announces-new-focus-deploying- more-car-free-officers DC Chief of Police Peter Newsham laid out his vision to take the department in a more progressive direction, prioritizing community policing to strengthen ties between officers and the communities that they patrol and boosting morale to prevent officers from fleeing to other departments. https://www.gwhatchet.com/2017/06/12/mpd-chief-newsham-focuses-on- strengthening-community-relations-officer-morale/ So, despite the Mayors’ and Police Chiefs exhortations of community policing why does it not exist? Some, might say more police training is needed. Others, might note “police culture.” One recently retired anonymous police officer asserts that folks should look at the type of folks being attracted to policing, specifically, community policing. This may be a dangerous and challenging area with little research. Status: “One of the 10 largest local police agencies in the United States, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is the primary law enforcement agency for the District of Columbia. Founded in 1861, MPD has a sworn authorized strength of 4,000 members and approximately 600 civilian employees.” “Become a part of a dedicated, community-oriented police department that serves and protects Washington, DC. Join the MPD today!” “Hiring Preferences Residents of the District of Columbia and US Military Veterans are awarded preference points in hiring: Residents of the District of Columbia United States Military Veterans.” https://joinmpd.dc.gov/ What is Community Policing: Community policing is, in essence, a collaboration between the police and the community that identifies and solves community problems. With the police no longer the sole guardians of law and order, all members of the community become active allies in the effort to enhance the safety and quality of neighborhoods. Community policing has far-reaching implications. The expanded outlook on crime control and prevention, the new emphasis on making community members active participants in the process of problem solving, and the patrol officers’ pivotal role in community policing require profound changes within the police organization. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/commp.pdf What is Not Community Policing? Community policing focuses on prevention not apprehension. Community policing is not, -Two police speeding about on bicycles. -Police wearing sunglasses (nonverbally cutting them off from the community). -Police having lunch at Chick F’let. -Police having coffee at Starbucks on breaks. -Police sitting in their patrol cars on their computers. DC Street Vendors License: Admittedly in the above outlined case, the main issues are children and police treatment of such. A side issue is the vendors license. What is the street vendor quarterly vendor fee? The quarterly street vendor fee is $375.00 and is in place of collecting and remitting sales tax for the three (3) preceding months. When are my quarterly street vendor fees due? Quarterly street vendor fees are due on or before January 20, April 20, July 20, and October 20 of each year. If I have two (2) licenses (Class A and Class C) and operate at one location, what do I pay the Office of Tax and Revenue? You pay the Office of Tax and Revenue $375.00 per quarter. If I operate at more than one location, must I secure different licenses for each location, and what is my quarterly liability? You must have a license(s) for each location, and your quarterly payment to the Office of Tax and Revenue is $375.00. https://otr.cfo.dc.gov/book/other-topics-faqs/street-vendors So, who is attracted to DC policing? Uber Driver Elian: People become police for the badge and power. Former Federal Officer James: Policing may attract enlisted men, not officers. The attraction may be structured environment, gun management and law and order. Military Connections: There is some research that finds a correlation between military experience and policing. 19% of police have some military connection with is disproportionate of the population as a whole equaling 6%. Former Federal Official Travis speculates that this makes sense since former military folks are seeking a disciplined environment and they have gun management experience. Analysis of U.S. Census data performed by Gregory B. Lewis and Rahul Pathak of Georgia State University for The Marshall Project.Mar 30, 2017 https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/03/30/when-warriors-put-on-the-badge Some do wonder if there is a logical nexus between being in the military and policing. There is the gun connection; that is, they know how to manage the equipment At the same time, managing guns may not be in line with the concept of community policing. Nonetheless the US Department of Justice Community Policing Service did offer 220 cities $114.6 million to fill 800 positions with 9/11 Veterans. https://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/search/law-enforcement-jobs/military- transition-to-police-force.html The above referenced Marshall Project also found the veterans who are police are more likely to get physical on the job, generate more excessive force complaints and are more likely to fire their guns. One wonders whether to be consistent with community policing that candidates would be from the human services, psychology or sociology backgrounds. Family: Although there seems to be no research on this, policing seems to be one of those professions such as lawyering, acting, firefighting that runs in families. One DC example would be Patrick Burke who now directs the Police Foundation but was on the DC police force. At one time, he was head of the Park Road police station named after his police officer Father. Former Deputy Chief of Police Diane Groomes: I do not believe there’s an official measurement of such for MPD or other jurisdictions. Family connections is not part of required data they collect but from my observations I would say there are many family connections in DC MPD. Probably family tradition is higher in the NYC and NJ Police Departments. I would also state it’s more prevalent for generations that are local residents to continue on such path Those born and raised in DMV and are police often begat children who become police. (per email between Larry Ray and Groomes.) Research: There is little research on this topic but the best may be that of Richard Bakh who explores the correlation between POLICE BEHAVIOR AND AUTHORITARIANISM. He notes several personal characteristics of those attracted to policing: What are these characteristics? -Rigid adherence to middle class values. -Rigid thinking about power and toughness. -Against imagination and tendermindedness. -Cynicism -Exaggerated concern with sexual goings on. -Beliefs that wild and dangerous goings-on. https://www.alternet.org/2015/01/people-who-become-cops-tend-have- authoritarian-personality-characteristics/ Researchers Banton and Tauber furthers this characterization stating that generally police respects authority and knows how to take orders. “They like to give orders, too and they demand respect from juveniles, criminals and minorities. The must assert personal authority Those people who are most authoritarian are most likely to succeed in policing and that police are recruited from a sub-segment of the population that may be prone to authoritarian behavior.” https://www.alternet.org/2015/01/people-who-become-cops-tend-have- authoritarian-personality-characteristics/ Conclusion: National Police Researcher Jan posits: What is DC police department recruited specifically for community police. Maybe they could borrow the Canadian term: Peace Officer. Maybe these officers need not carry guns so gun management would not be necessary. Maybe these recruits would already subscribe to the core values of community policing: collaboration, crime prevention, community building and providing assistance. This might work better than to take existing police officers with anti-thetical values and training them in community policing. Maybe choose recruits who are already community collaborating such as volunteer work at church, shelter, food bank, etc. About Larry Ray: He is a Senior Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University School of Law teaching negotiation and mediation. He served as DC Police Commissioner for several years as well as Taxicab Commissioner DC. 11/20/19 https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/video-shows-teenage-girl-physically- detained-by-dc-police-for-selling-street-food/2152453/ PICTURES: -#1 Dupont Circle Liaison Office: Over a year ago we were forced to temporarily relocate to an alternative space and have been in discussions with the building owners and management about how to resolve some serious maintenance and space issues that made it no longer safe to work out of that office. While we hope to return in some way in the future, we can't provide a timeline or clear vision for what that may look like. Until then, all SLB units are working together out of 801 Shepherd Street, NW. We remain visible and active throughout the city in the communities we serve. Feel free to contact the LGBT Liaison Unit anytime on their duty phone at 202-506-0714. If you have not met Sergeant Nicole Brown, she is their supervisor and copied. Brett A. Parson, Lieutenant, Executive Office of the Chief of Police (EOCOP) Strategic Change Division (SCD), Special Liaison Branch (SLB) #2 Police at Dupont Circle CVS taking a police theft report, Friday, 1/3/20. #3 Idling police car. Each morning around 450AM I bike to the gym. During this ½ mile ride, I pass 4-6 idling police cars (with lights) and seemingly the police are on their computers. Stats will say that this time period is the time period with the least criminal activity. #4 Park Road Community Police Station #5 Temporary office of Minority liaison office 801 Shephard NW-no address shown. #6 Spring Road and 14 th St NW-site of Latina 15 years old selling plaintain chips.