MPD Chief Cathy Lanier Comments on All Hands on Deck (AHOD)

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

A reader brought this up earlier in the week.

Sent from Chief Lanier to the MPD listservs yesterday:

“Lately I have received a lot of inquiries from members of the community about what the latest decision on the All Hands on Deck actually means to our crime fighting strategy. Since there is a lot of misinformation in the press I wanted to take a few moments to give you some accurate background on the issue.

In 2006, in response to a spike in violent crimes and homicides in the early summer, Chief Ramsey declared a crime emergency. By declaring the crime emergency the union contract was suspended and all members of the department were required to work 12 hours a day, six days a week. The Crime Emergency remained in place for nearly six months and cost the city 17 million dollars in overtime expenses. While I agree that the steps Chief Ramsey took at the time were necessary to keep our residents safe, it was very hard on the members of the police department, who had to cancel leave, vacations, and days off.

When I became the Chief in 2007, I proposed the concept of the All Hands on Deck to our labor union and their membership. I received their concurrence that violent crime spikes are predicable. As such, we did a detailed crime analysis and selected four to six dates a year, when violent crime was most prevalent, and scheduled the entire Department to work. On those dates, those not assigned to patrol (i.e. Administrative and support personnel) are deployed on the street to increase visibility and prevent crime. We publish these dates in January of every year so our members can schedule their vacations and personal time around them. This initiative requires a minimal time commitment, requires no overtime, and allows the officers to maintain two days off during the AHOD week. Lastly, only a small number of officers are impacted by the AHOD.

As far as the arbitrators ruling, and recent PERB decision, our attorneys assure me that they only impact two AHODs in 2009 and no others. Additionally, they in no way preclude us from holding future AHODS.

I am committed to continuing the AHOD initiative because it provides consistent results to our residents. A prime example of this is that during our last AHOD we had a 24% crime reduction compared to the same timeframe last year.

AHOD is one piece of my crime fighting strategy and I am happy to report that as a result of our collective efforts, residents and visitors to the District of Columbia are enjoying historically low homicide rates, unprecedented homicide closure rates, and huge decreases in gun crimes. There can be no dispute that our city is safer today because of our crime fighting efforts and strategies.”

20 Comment

  • Fine. But how about slightly less nautical terminology, e.g., “all boots on the ground”?

  • …residents and visitors to the District of Columbia are enjoying historically low homicide rates, unprecedented homicide closure rates, and huge decreases in gun crimes.

    As are residents and visitors in all other major cities across the US.

    If and when crime goes back up, will Chief Lanier point to a her crime fighting strategy or cite nationwide crime trends as the culrpit?

  • I’d be interested to know what kind of “detailed crime analysis” identifies peak crime days for the entire year by January. No, seriously.

  • I am not sure I get the logic of the crime-fighting strategy. I understand that 6 days out of the year we can be assured of a 24% reduction in crime, but how does it lead to a systematic reduction?

    Also, wouldn’t I just check the “published dates” before deciding to commit a crime on that day?

  • AHOD is great for PR, but worthless as a crime-fighting strategy, and highly demoralizing to our police officers.

  • I love you guys, no really i do. When crime goes down under Fenty its because he’s the Messiah. When crime goes down under Gray its coincidence.

  • I hate to plug, but if anyone wants to see an average guy’s view on the whole AHOD debate that’s blown up, go to my site. Here are the essential problems:

    1) The AHODs violate multiple sections of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the union
    2) AHODs all happen to be on the weekends where the Chief can get the most media attention and are essentially a dog and pony show. Never mind that weekends aren’t always the busiest times in many districts. Also never mind that the Chief sometimes changes the weekends with no explanation
    3) The continued scheduling of AHODs by the Chief despite multiple rulings by neutral federal arbitrators and the D.C. Public Employee Relations Board that have been costly legally and in the awarding of wages per the contract.
    4) AHODs rob Peter to pay Paul in terms of manpower. The changing of schedules shorts watches in the run-up to AHODs.
    5) AHOD units are more useless than tits on a bull. The ones in my District come in service late, never show up in their assigned beat, don’t answer up for runs, and then check off at the same time we do. It’s telling when the most productive AHOD units are often Internal Affairs guys.
    6) AHODs displace crime, not prevent it. It’s the same principal of placing crime cameras- crime drops right there but it just moves on down the street.

    I don’t think that Officers would object to AHOD-style initiatives, but the Chief’s has refused to work with the union in shaping her initiatives to conform with the contract.

    • Nice union opinions there, but all you’re doing is reiterating why the union doesn’t like them. You’d be better off finding out why the district population likes them.

      Dog and pony shows are important for keeping morale of the city up. The morale of the average DC resident is much more important than the morale of the crocodile tearing union reps on the force. For so long DC residents got kicked in the nuts by criminals because the police never seemed to make any traction with crime. You more or less settled for detente where they didn’t shoot you, and you didn’t bust them. That’s a real pu*** way to be a cop if that’s all you want to do. The rest of us non criminals get f- in the process though.

      With AHOD, at least for the summer, it looks like the cops are ACTUALLY doing something instead of calling their girlfriends on their cell phones while driving around in circles. Now, we know that most cops AREN’T doing that, but what we’re talking about is perception. When the drug dealer on the street seems to stay in business for YEARS, while we see cops driving around the neighborhood, avoiding confrontation, accruing HUGE pension benefits, we all start to lose faith in the average cop. When the average resident loses faith in the cops and stops calling about crimes, then the city is effectively lost. That’s what happened throughout the 80’s and well into the 90’s in this city. People stopped calling the cops, because the perception was that the cops didn’t do anything.

      AHOD really bolsters OUR morale. It’s good to have a few big wins in what is largely a sub 0.500 year most years. High profile busts make big headlines and big headlines get more resources and more resources get more busts. Your job gets easier, our lives get better.

      I can understand why you just don’t want to be bothered with “Dog And Pony” shows, because quite frankly, they’re a pain in the a**. But that doesn’t mean they’re not important to us.

      There’s a lot that Lanier is doing that’s not going to work out. That’s the nature of experimentation. It’s the same with the school system. However, sitting around in sh** and not trying to claw your way out of it is stupid. So as long as she’s got her heart in the right place and is trying to do the right thing, I have no problem with her pissing off some people who don’t want to be bothered to do anything but punch a time clock.

  • Nice to know that all it takes is a dog & pony show to impress you, instead of real improvement. I am not a cop, but there are many ways to fight crime and still be compliant with a contract.

    And HUGE pensions… Please. Yet another person falling for the myth that public employees pensions are breaking the bank. Their pensions are good, but they are not making a regular cop rich by any means.

    • If you retire at 25 years with a pension, you are doing better than 95% of the people who paid your salary when you were working.

      If you define rich as “I’m not making wall street money” then you’re right.

      However, if you define rich as “I never have to work a day in my life once I retire in my 50’s and I have enough money for the grandkids and oh by the way, I got 5 weeks of vacation per year for the last 10 years I was on the force, and tuition reimbursement and I never had to worry about losing my job and I could moonlight on the side and 2x my salary and I actually retired early because my back went out*” then yes, you are rich.

      Selfish Douche.

      *My back didn’t go out, but I know a friendly doctor that will write me a note.

      • Have you been shot at before? Have you been in over a hundred fights in the past ten years? Have you been forced to not see your family for days on end? Those aren’t the actions of a selfish douche. Police work is a highly stressful and ages you more than any other profession. Just because you see a lazy slap on his cellphone doesn’t mean there aren’t hard working cops protecting the rights of all citizens in DC. How many cops do you know that faked a back injury and retired early? I know none. You’re just generalizing a stereotype and throwing out weak talking points. It’s your right, but it is people like you that cause the decent cops with less than 5 years on to roll out to the counties.

      • 25 years police & fire pension is 60% of pay. If they get a disability retirement it is far, far less. If they get night jobs, what’s the problem with that. They pay into their pension programs. If these guys work 25 years in this city putting up with the crap they have to deal with & people like you, they deserve that and more.

        Ignorant douce.

  • Really. Gotta love ignorant people. Who talk about things they have no clue about.

Comments are closed.