Another MPD Officer Arrested

Last week we noted – A Disturbing Statistic – 14 MPD officer arrests in 2013.

From MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department has announced the arrest of an officer for theft while on duty.

On Thursday, January 30, 2014, members of the Internal Affairs Division arrested Officer Rodney Williams following a tip from an MPD employee that led to an investigation that the officer had taken property from the Evidence Control Branch where he worked.

He has been charged with Theft II. Officer Williams has been on the force since August 1990. The Internal Affairs Division is continuing to investigate this case.”

17 Comment

  • How long has Cathy Lanier been Police Commissioner? Seems to me like it is time for some new leadership at MPD

  • jim_ed

    Maybe I’m in the minority but I see all these arrests as a positive. It shows MPD isn’t afraid to go after their own when they get caught committing crimes. Granted, some of the MPD crimes have been very serious, but something like a theft could easily have been swept under the rug. Good on IA for having a low threshold for bringing charges.

    • I think you are in the minority but I also think you’re correct. The folks uncovering these problems are almost certainly not the ones responsible for them. They’re doing the right thing, not the wrong thing, and people want them punished for that? I’m OK if folks don’t want to give MPD gold stars, but this type of news should be seen as a step in the right direction.

    • Or maybe we shouldn’t even have to worry about our police doing illegal things. Since we constantly see DC officials who are elected or hired getting into trouble there must be a problem with the hiring procedures and/or the citizens just don’t care.

      • Cops everywhere are problematic. In every country of the world. To expect that “we shouldn’t even have to worry about our police doing illegal things” is extremely naive.
        There will always be bad apples who are drawn to being cops because of the inherent power that comes with the job. Same reason why Congress (and every other political body around the world) draws in amoral, power hungry narcissists.
        The DC Internal Affairs unit has been doing a really good job. We need to increase the capacity and resources for independent investigative units, such as IA, throughout the country at all levels of government.

        • You didn’t counter my hiring procedures point, do you agree with that? Yes, you are right about everything you said but maybe we can stop someone before they even get in. I know the process of being a cop is already difficult but maybe they can make it more intense. Instead of the need for more money to go to investigative units it would go into the community.

          • I’m not Anon 3:30 but I have a thought on this. Most if not all of the cops recently arrests within MPD were hired years ago, I believe. There was even a recent story (Washington Post, maybe) specifically about the poor hiring standards back in the late 80s and early 90s – the same time period as today’s subject. I agree with you that hiring standards should be high, acknowledging that still some bad apples may get through. But having that now doesn’t do anything about those already in the force.

          • I think you hit the nail on the head. The process for becoming a cop in DC is difficult only because it is tedious and not because we have high standards for our officers. My roommate applied a couple years back. The test questions were similar to those that would be asked on a sixth grade test. Addition and subtraction… “how would you write, ‘suspect with blue eyes and blonde hair” in a sentence?” etc. I think the problem of hiring good officers is very difficult to overcome, however. The problem … as I see it… is that intelligent people make better police officers, but intelligent people aren’t usually attracted to police work because as an officer you have to deal with the shittiest people and situations ALL THE TIME. You can offer higher pay, but I’d think it would have to be a LOT higher before you started getting better educated people (that know the law) applying.

      • What universe or alternate reality do you live in? There is likely no (or so very few as to be statistically negligible) police department on the entire earth and though recorded history that hasn’t had malfeasance to one degree or another. Cops are people and people can, and frequently do behave badly (which is why we have cops in the first place). Them wearing a uniform and carrying a badge doesn’t change the fact that humans can behave badly – it sometimes even exacerbates it.

        Hiring procedures and standards can be rigorous and rigorously enforced and there can and will still be problems. Look at the test cheating scandal in the Air Force and I am sure their standards are high to serve and get promoted. Considering what I have been reading in the post about the Air Force and officers in other branches that hasn’t stopped problems there. I may be a bit cynical but I also hope I am realistic at the same time.

        As to people not caring I am sure they do, but note my comment above about the NOLA officer who went to jail (and got the death penalty if memory serves) as to why people who are most likely to have reason to report cops for bad behaviors don’t report it (and yes that was an extreme one off case but it still illustrates my point).

        • I used to screen police candidates. Some departments have crappy applicant pools, others get stuck with weak candidates when they have funds to hire and are unsure they’ll have them in the future. DC went through a really bad period in the 80s when too many cops were hired with weak entry criteria. By now most have retired or been arrested (lots of cops who went out that way from that cohort). I think it’s a positive that MPD arrests cops and makes disclosures. I wouldn’t count on any of the suburban jurisdictions to be without bad apples–they get a lot of people who expect those places to be like Mayberry, which they aren’t.

    • I mean yes , It is a good thing but at the same time we shouldn’t feel proud about this.

    • I agree. A mark of a good or at least improving police department is not just not having problems but going ofter them (hopefully successfully) when there are.

      As a New Orleans transplant I can say, that going after officers for wrong doing pretty much never happens. What does happen there is an officer finding out that someone files brutality charges and order a hit on her (thankfully he was under investigation by the FBI and went to jail, unfortunately not before the complainant was murdered).

    • austindc

      Yeah, I think this is great news. It says to me that they are finding problems and fixing them. I am impressed by organization who work well when everything is gravy, but I think a true test of character is how they handle things when something (or someone) screws up. I see these stats reassuring. And I also see so many MPD officers doing incredible work in my neighborhood (Columbia Heights), so I am not going to let these bad apples ruin the bunch.

    • I don’t care how serious or inconsequential the crime/offense, they (the offenders) should be persecuted to the full extent of the law if for no other reason than 1: IT’S THE LAW and 2: THEY ARE THE LAW ENFORCEMENT.

      Would any non-law enforcement individual receive their CRIME being ‘swept under the rug.’

      I’m sure we’re on the same page, sorry but this just pisses me off.

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