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Council Member representing Columbia Heights and Ward 1 on bringing back MPD’s Vice Squads “I cannot support these proposals”

by Prince Of Petworth August 25, 2015 at 1:25 pm 113 Comments

A reader writes:

“I think this part of Council Member Nadeau’s email from yesterday may have gone relatively unnoticed:

I have recently been asked to weigh in on proposals to temporarily bring back the MPD Vice Squad, also known as “jump out squads.” The practices employed by them, which involves officers pulling up to a location and arresting a group of people, have been retired by MPD, and have been widely criticized. I cannot support these proposals, and I do not think they help us achieve the long term, sustained outcome we truly want for the District. When violence and drug activity were at their worst, what made the biggest difference was residents partnering with MPD, taking back their blocks and being part of the solution.

What do you think about conducting a poll to see what PoPville readers think about Vice units, now that we have a number of varying views from officials and some statistics on the topic from Chief Lanier?”

Ed. Note: You can read CM Nadeau’s full letter after the jump.


Over the past few months you’ve talked with me at your community association and ANC meetings, at my Brianne on Your Block office hours and at our Public Safety Walks about the violence we’ve been experiencing in our communities. I’ve taken your concerns to MPD and other city agencies and they’ve used the information you’ve provided to target their resources as part of an immediate response. Thank you for your advocacy.

On the Public Safety Walks, residents had the opportunity to talk directly with MPD and the District employees who are addressing these issues every day. Making these connections and establishing new partnerships will ultimately lead to safer communities, but as productive as these Public Safety Walks have been, it will take more to get at the root causes of violence and crime. When I asked you to let me serve in this position, we talked a lot about long-term solutions, and I want you to know that I’m committed to achieving them. But I need your help to get there.

Today, I’m announcing our new Ward 1 public safety initiative: a neighborhood watch training for the entire ward, to be held on Saturday, September 12 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus (3101 16th St NW). This training is for everyone in the community – long-time residents, newcomers, business leaders. My dream is for Ward 1 to have the best community engagement in the District, and it starts with building connections block-by-block, complementing the work of our ANCs and community association leaders, and all those who came before us.

At this training you will:

· Learn how to start your own neighborhood watch

· Hear from Ward 1 leaders and MPD on best practices and existing support

· Meet other Ward 1 residents and business leaders who care about these issues to begin building our Ward 1 block-by-block network

When I first got involved in our community, more than a decade ago, it was as a member of the Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association Orange Hat Patrol. Each week, we would meet our MPD officer and “walk the beat.” We’d look for little things that made the neighborhood unsafe, such as burnt out street lights or trees that needed to be trimmed, or larger things, such as abandoned property that allowed crime to thrive. As we walked, we talked with neighbors about what we were doing, and what they were seeing in the community. Together, we made the neighborhood safer.

So today, I’m asking you to share in our public safety efforts.

I want to commend Mayor Bowser on her work to get violent weapons off the street, and the work MPD has done already in this regard. And I want to build on those efforts block-by-block in Ward 1.

I have recently been asked to weigh in on proposals to temporarily bring back the MPD Vice Squad, also known as “jump out squads.” The practices employed by them, which involves officers pulling up to a location and arresting a group of people, have been retired by MPD, and have been widely criticized. I cannot support these proposals, and I do not think they help us achieve the long term, sustained outcome we truly want for the District. When violence and drug activity were at their worst, what made the biggest difference was residents partnering with MPD, taking back their blocks and being part of the solution.

We didn’t get to this place overnight, and we won’t solve our problems overnight either. But through a sustained effort at the deepest grassroots level, our community will become stronger and will overcome these issues.

Please join us September 12, and please share this email widely to encourage your friends and neighbors to attend.

I thank you for your partnership,


Brianne K. Nadeau
Councilmember, Ward 1

  • frustrated

    So this email essentially says, I don’t feel like having MPD police our community any more. Let’s set up a DIY sort of situation? How does community watch stop a gun fight?
    Seriously, the justification Lanier was that the squads were not making enough arrests, not that they were doing anything wrong.
    Nadeau needs to get her head out of her ass because in the meantime her constituents are getting murdered.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I do not feel like I know enough about the matter to vote intelligently.

    • eggs

      That’s not the American way…
      In all seriousness I wish more people were this thoughtful before voicing opinions in general lol.

      • textdoc


    • Dognonymous

      Same, though what I do know is that this is a pretty embarrassing statement in general. Suggesting that we need “residents partnering with MPD “to “take back their blocks” in order to have effective policing is insulting both to MPD and to the residents who pay their salaries.

  • Eponymous

    “We don’t feel like hiring more police, so if you’re concerned about crime on your block you’ll just have to police it yourself. With all of your free time. And no guns. Mmmmkay?”
    Gawd. Nadeau is the most clueless council member in some time. And that’s really saying something.

    • Thought

      Don’t blame me. I voted for Catania. And Graham for that matter!

      • anon


  • Bill Johnson

    Councilmember Nadeau’s equating “jump out squads” with any form of locally-assigned plainclothes units strikes me as being — at best — a clumsy political statement, not one that can best promote meaningful community dialogue about how to ensure both civil liberties and public safety. She seems to be saying we have to choose between the two, not strive for both. As many of her constituents as possible should call her on this act of misdirection.

  • true that

    She is truly incompetent.

  • Chicken

    Being a teenager in DC during early 90’s, media’s daily update on the numbers fascinated criminals to want to commit crimes. I saw a report on Fox the other night when Marina Marraco was asking the Mayor about the spike in crime while at an event where they were celebrating the opening of 4 new schools. Instead of reporting something positive for youth, all she wanted to talk about was the negative.

    • anonymous

      Man I saw that and I swear it took all of the Mayor’s energy not to “go off” on that reporter. She was asking for it and would have served her right. Props to the mayor on that.
      Speaking schools- that new Skipp school on Mt. Oilivet RD is a beautiful school.

      • 7thStTechGuy

        Kipp? Those are charter schools, which I believe are not part of DCPS- and I believe built quickly and efficiently outside of DCPS’ nightmare of an organization.

        • rsn

          It took them over two years to build the entire project (1 year for a renovation of the portion of the old building that wasn’t damaged by fire and 2 years for the damaged portion + addition).

          For comparison, DCPS usually does a renovation (of all classroom areas) of a school that size in a little over 3 months. Doing it that short time frame is inherently more expensive. Work in this school was a quarter less expensive than the closest comparison I could find quickly (Stuart-Hobson), however that was mostly a renovation (generally more expensive than new building), had unique space constraints (Webb is on a rather large plot of land most likely making construction of the addition easier), and again, had a longer construction time period, all of which would have effected costs.

          Put plainly, it’s really hard to compare the efficiency of this building process to any of the DCPS building processes since they are so different.

  • C’mon

    Really, more platitude from Nadeau. I had such high hopes that she would be a force of change in Ward1, but she has done just about nothing. This comment on citizens working with MPD is a dream that will take years in the making on a community level, we all need some short term solution now. Nadeau you will surely be voted out next round.

  • brightwoodess

    Wait, THAT’S what those vice units were doing? I’m not sure I believe that.

  • Anonymous

    Nadeau is worthless when it comes to crime IMO. I have seen nothing from her to get real results on these issues that are plaguing her Ward but I do see all the propaganda she sends daily about public-facing “safety walks” and “affordable housing meetings”. Sadly she has become a textbook politician after taking office. Not impressed one bit.

  • 7thStTechGuy

    She’s stumping for the Mayor’s job all the time.

    • Thought

      That will never happen. Can you imagine?! Lord.
      We must remember where she came from… born from the roots of the failed Occupy movement that destroyed a park square downtown costing the National Park Service thousands of dollars to restore.

  • H St Resident

    Vice units are NOT jump out squads. She doesn’t seem to understand what vice units do.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      That’s just the beginning of her shortcomings.

    • MPinDC

      Her characterization of vice squads is insulting

      • Anonymous

        I agree and had found vice squads to be a very helpful resource in rooting out crime. The thugs now act with such impunity knowing that they can spot the cop car with lights on.

    • MarkQ

      But, right up there in the survey it say that they are (vice unites = jump out squads).

  • Anonymous

    My experience with VICE squads in Ward 1 before they got dismantled were that they knew the area and perpetrators and were able to act on drug/weapon related crime proactively when called to do so or tipped off. I had a relationship with several VICE members and they got things done, unlike the current bureaucratic mess that exists if you want anything public safety wise on the micro or neighborhood level.

    Nadeau is creating this image to push her own agenda.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      Absolutely what is going on. Vice Squads were not Jump Out squads but officers that knew the area, and operated in plain clothes. Good luck getting her to do that.

  • jimslicio

    We need to get the vice squad back…I feel like I’m rooting for the A-team or something… and bust those sketchy houses that mar each and every block.

  • boo-urns

    Rant: Nadeau’s email

    • 7thStTechGuy

      Rant: Her office responding to constituents with specific complaints, never and when they do respond- in form letters. Nice move Claudia!

      • msus

        The one time I e-mailed Jim Graham, he responded promptly and personally. Kinda regret voting for Nadeau now…

      • Anonymous

        Even people that “knew her” before she was elected are greeted with a form letter response which is usually after many many attempts

      • textdoc

        My experience was that Claudia was utterly unhelpful. I was really disappointed — if that’s who’s handling constituent services, then there’s no point in me even contacting Brianne Nadeau for that sort of thing.

        • 7thStTechGuy

          Call her on her form letter responses- its comical.

        • Anon

          Yep, that’s her. And yeah — completely and utterly useless. I was no fan of the Grahamstander, but CM Nadeau’s staff is just mind-bogglingly ineffective and disinterested. I never would have believed it had I not experienced it myself. And everyone I’ve spoken with has had the same experience.

          • 7thStTechGuy

            Yeaaa cant wait to vote for her competition.

          • textdoc

            I didn’t phrase that well. I know Claudia is Brianne’s constituent services person (or one of them?), and after that unhelpful experience I thought, “OK, no point in contacting Brianne about constituent services any more.”
            Are all of her staffers this bad??

  • Trinidaddo

    She’s clueless and rather worthless. However, the people who voted her in only have themselves to blame.

  • charlie

    Recall Nadeu.

    She is for 7-11 and not for jump squads. I saw 21 Jump St. It was great. We need more of them and less of her.

  • Explaon

    Her platform is more affordable housing in Columbia Heights. This isn’t new. If you want someone who cares about crime and the murder rate you need someone else, because her platform isn’t changing.

    That said I am so sick of meaningless platitudes about the “community” coming together to “take back” the neighborhood from violent, armed criminals. Maybe we should just disband the police force we supposedly pay for with our taxe? I called MPD recently to report serious criminal activity in progress and no one bothered to show up for at least 40 minutes.

    • Nerrrrrrrrd

      I think it’s worth reminding everybody that DC’s jump-out squads had a not-unwarranted reputation for, um, harassing innocent black people.

      • JS

        So it’s a good thing people aren’t calling for the return of jump-out squads, right? We’re talking about vice units, which aren’t the same thing.

        • Nerrrrrrrrd

          Councilwoman Nadeau straight-up says Vice Units = Jump out squads. Maybe she’s lying/wrong, although Chief Lanier has also drawn parallels between the two. So please tell me JS, what am I thinking of?


          “While Chief Lanier doesn’t acknowledge the term “jump-out” as defining any current practice of the MPD, she explained at a recent D.C. Council hearing what she believes people are often referring to when they use the term: the “Vice Unit” and the “Crime Suppression Unit.” The Vice Unit, she concedes, is a drug squad and oftentimes operates in unmarked cars or outfits its officers in plainclothes. She says they may wait on a block and “jump out of a car” in sets of four to six officers to arrest those suspected of being in the drug trade. But she says the tactic is “rarely used anymore.”

      • ch heights

        Yeah, like that “innocent” guy on 7th street who was only shooting because he got shot at, according to his mother?

        • 7thStTechGuy

          with a Day care in the background. Imagine if one of those kids had been hit.

          • LongtimeResident

            Or an innocent financial analyst!

  • lizcolleena

    So is there a good place to find information on vice squads in DC and what they did? My admittedly rudimentary understanding does not jive with Nadeau’s letter.

  • Kelly

    ” The practices employed by them, which involves officers pulling up to a location and arresting a group of people, have been retired by MPD, and have been widely criticized.”

    We’ve become far to PC for our own good. The practices weren’t widely criticized, and were enormously effective at removing guns and drugs from the street. There is simply no other way around it.

    The only people “offended” by a cop coming up to them on the street are the people who had something to hide, as if it was “unfair” that they would be arrested for carrying an illegal gun or selling cocaine.

    • jcm

      Really? The only people offended by the tactics are the criminals? Here’s a quote from at least one non-criminal who was “offended”:
      “Growing up in the city, which I did, a black youth, I can’t tell you how many times I was stopped by a police officer. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve thrown me on the sidewalk and told me to take my Timberlands off and been searched for no reason. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had contact with police. … I went home, or I talked to my friends, about how unjust it was. But I never did file a complaint”
      That’s Kenyan McDuffie, last year, at a Council hearing on this sort of tactic. Maybe being treated like that really wouldn’t bother you, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you have no idea, because you’ve never actually been treated that way.

  • Tom

    I cannot believe I voted for her. I won’t make that mistake again.

    • Anonymous

      +1, she played the politician game well. Fool me once….

    • Anon

      Having a a serious case of voter’s remorse myself. Don’t bother contacting her office for anything — her constituent service person is useless.

      • Anonymous

        Didn’t hate him and didn’t love him, but please come back Jim Graham!!

      • 7thStTechGuy

        Ah yes Claudia Barahona. She’s a gem.

        • Anon

          I wonder what the result would be if a management consultant were to shadow her for a day. What exactly does she do?

      • Anonymous


    • TinkerTaylor

      Same here.

    • Anonymous

      I assume a lot of people were voting *against* Graham. Amazing that she doesn’t see that constituent services was something Graham did right.

  • Susan

    So her solution is to have citizens police their own nieghbourhood??? Will she be providing bullet proof vests and handcuffs?

    • FridayGirl


  • Anonymous Shaw Dweller

    The response on ‘why the vice squads’ where retired is actually a meme from the Mayor and Chief of Police. While Nadeau does not have policing powers — or the ability to direct the policing force, as the Mayor most assuredly does — I do provide the following advice for Nadeau: — >>> STAND UP, SPEAK PUBLICLY ON BEHALF OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS WHO DESERVE PROTECTION FROM VIOLENT CREWS — AND DEMAND THAT THE MAYOR AND CHIEF BRING BACK THE VICE SQUADS.

    Additionally, explain to your constituents what exactly that the DC Council, through legislation, CAN DO to combat the criminal violence and terror of these inter-generational gangs that believe shooting guns is acceptable behavior.

    • FridayGirl

      Exactly. Wasn’t she elected to speak on behalf of the constituents? It’s ridiculous when elected officials are like “Oh hai, I hear you, but actually I think your idea is dumb even though you elected me so we’re not going to propose that…”

      • Anonymous

        She is elected to *represent* her constituents. So yeah she isn’t required to or expected to propose every dumb thing a constituent suggests.
        On this topic of vice squads, most of what I know is from angry anonymous commenters on this blog, so I can’t really weigh in on the topic.

        • FridayGirl

          I never said she was, but I’m pretty sure this issue is not in the “every dumb thing” category — a significant majority of people across wards are talking about this issue. Some action needs to be taken, and it sounds like the constituents have more and better ideas than her. Even the older folks who I often overhear at the bus stops along 14th street have been talking consistently about crime in this city. With this response, she just dismissed everyone’s opinions, and I’m pretty sure making sure there’s good lighting (per her statement) is going to keep people from being shot.

    • Ward 1 Constituent

      I love when politicians speak out strongly against something they don’t understand. Brianne, do you get the fact when I call the police now to root out drug problems (same people that are involved in aggressive and violent acts) in my neighborhood, it takes a new explanation to a clueless dispatcher each and every time? More resources are wasted sending out a squad car (if that actually happens) and rarely do dispatched police have probable cause. The issues have remained. When I worked with the VICE squads (or insulting “jump out squads” you named them for political spin) they new the crews, monitored them, gathered evidence and were able to effectively utilize tips in order to ‘jump out’ and make arrests. SHAME ON YOU for putting your constituents at more risk and speaking out on an issue you clearly don’t have a grasp of.

      • Dennab

        Nadeau doesn’t care about you or Ward 1 anymore. She got the election and now she’s playing to move up the ladder for something else. So she’ll continue to do nothing that might affect her politically yet will throw out these empty missives to signal to the great DC area about how much of a fighter, how in touch she is with the city, protecting your rights, how much of a community activist she is, blah, blah, blah. She’s a suit and because she had a “- D” attached to her name, she’ll get elected again and again in this area no matter her bona fides (or lack thereof).

  • Anonymous

    A quick look at the poll (which I don’t believe will change dramatically) is that over 80% of constituents want some form of the VICE squad back. Hopefully she recognizes the desire for true safety and intolerance for BS political pandering events. Clearly a lack of understanding of VICE by Nadeau.

    The only “long term sustainable outcome for the District” that she will achieve if she gets her way is a city with a sustainable level of high crime. Quit being so soft on crime, neither the new or old citizens want that. Wake up!

    • LongtimeResident

      You don’t know who’s taking the poll, and the poll is not representative of all of Ward 1. Do you really think all of Ward 1 is on this website?

    • jcm

      I hope she has the good sense not to base her policy opinions on a blog poll.

  • Timmy

    Simpsons, as usual, has the answer.


  • Susan

    I used to live in the ward and really disliked Graham and would have voted against him if I had still lived there. I wonder how many voted for Nadeau simply because of their displeasure with Graham? For those Ward 1 folks, do you think Graham would have handled this crime increase better than Nadeau, about the same or worse?

    • msus

      Maybe the same, but he would have at least sounded more sincere and original, not just throwing out some yawn worthy crap.

    • stcohi

      I voted for Nadeau because I was sick of Graham. Now, I wonder if I made a mistake.

      • textdoc


      • cohi


  • ParkViewRes

    Has Nadeau done a ride along with the police? I highly suggest she does even if she has before because she is extremely out of touch. It’s almost like she is living in a different city. Her neighborhood watch program reminds me of bus patrol in elementary school. Cute and all, but it doesn’t really do anything.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      That is what I think every time I see one of her communications- she’s detached. So were supposed to patrol our neighborhoods on our dog walks, report activity to the police, and hope that they arent playing on their phones when the call comes in…

  • SP

    Give Nadeau a break. Constituent service takes SO much more effort than spouting platitudes. Her time is much better spent scratching the right backs so she is all set up to get an at-large seat.

    • Anon

      Know what? She can have that time. Just hire a constituent services person who actually returns emails and phone calls and gets stuff done instead of ignoring and then dismissing/punting just about every request that comes in.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      I see what you did there!

  • U-Logan-Shaw

    I exchanged notes with CM Nadeau this weekend and questioned her understanding of the vice squads’ tactics and intent. If they were “jump out squads” as she implies, I would agree they are counterproductive for community relations, but more importantly ineffective. However, I suspect the vice squads’ actions were far more comprehensive and strategic than just pulling up to a corner of random people and jumping out to arrest whoever, whenever for whatever. Other comments seem to validate this.

    When I previously worked for the Justice Department, I spent much time analyzing the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports during the last national uptick in violent crime in 2005-2007. We held meetings with local law enforcement from 30 cities around the country to better understand violent crime causation and prevention. It quickly became apparent each community faced unique challenges leading to the uptick; however, there was one common strategy deemed successful in preventing violent crime. As it was explained to us by a number of reputable police chiefs, prevention requires a block-by-block strategy led by the deployment of special police units (e.g. vice squads) to collect intelligence and target specific criminals. These squads, in tandem with uniformed police and prosecutors, take the worst-of-the-worst off the streets (in many cases repeat offenders) before they (or their organizations) could commit more violent acts. Because these units’ actions were based on intelligence of criminal activity (from witness accounts, informants, neighborhood watches, police reports and others sources able to connect the dots), rarely were such tactics associated with any sort of profiling. While community watches and more uniformed officers usually improves the response times to crimes, these tactics don’t prevent violent acts.

    Hopefully CM Nadeau can do some research about the recalled vice squads and recognize that the use of effective and preventative police tactics, along with open and transparent police engagement with the community, is completely achievable.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      Dont expect her to do that. Were asking MPDC let its police officers get the worst of the worst off the streets. She’s busy granstanding thinking these guys are going to be arresting every 18-25 yr old black male- that’s not the case; but she wants it to be. She is apparently smarter than the DOJ when it comes to policing. I want my vote back.

    • ash

      Thank you for this response/information.

    • sunnytime

      Thank you for this!

    • John

      Yes, this is really helpful info for the community to know. Conflating vice squads and jump out crews is misleading, particularly when Chief Lanier has said publicly that tactic is rarely used at all anymore. These mostly undercover officers were out gathering Intel, building sources, busting the repeat car thieves, robbers, burglars, etc. A neighborhood watch is helpful as part of the overall strategy, so it’s baffling she undermined another key part of it – seems more “look at me I’m doing something” than actual solution. Between this and Lanier’s e-mail back-and-forth today about repeat offenders, people out on parole awaiting trial etc. it seems we’re getting somewhere.

    • another disgruntled Ward 1 resident

      Wait, you’re saying the DIY neighborhood patrol didn’t work as well as trained specialized vice squads? Who would have thought…

      All joking aside, her response is offensive. You know your constituents are concerned for their safety, violent crime is through the roof, and your suggestion is that we patrol the neighborhood ourselves ? You’re concerned about police abusing their power but not the George Zimmerman types? I may not know all ins and outs of vice units, their success rates, or potential for civil rights abuse, but at this point anything that involves having an increased police presence (especially given the officer shortage) is better than leaving the problem for the community to solve. Get off your ass, listen to the folks that voted you in, and do your job. We deserve better than that.

      • ANON

        +1 Thank you. Well said…her suggestion seems completely out of touch with the reality of the situation at hand. The spike in crime this year is in MURDERS…not an influx in petty crime or situations where some scrawny chick (just speaking about myself, of course) armed with nothing but a flashlight and a cell phone Is really going to be able to do much about. We call the cops on our block all the time, lot of good it does.

    • DC_Chica

      Thank you for the most thoughtful and informative comment that I have read on the Internet today!

    • textdoc

      Thanks for this background information, U-Logan-Shaw. This reminds me of something Ruben Castaneda was talking about when he did a reading from his book “S Street Rising” at Upshur Street Books — apparently the D.C. police had a practice of transferring people (vice? homicide detectives? I can’t remember the details) from one district to another, which meant that they would build up networks of contacts in a given area only to have to start over from scratch in their next posting. The crime-solving efforts became much more effective when there were district-specific units that could get to know a given area and cultivate and maintain contacts.

  • Dismayed with my neighbors

    Most of you sound like you’ve been watching too much FOX News. There are no quick, simple solutions here. It’s not like vice squads were keeping the murder rate at bay prior to their dismantling and Chief Lanier makes a compelling argument that they should be retooled to effectively target large scale criminal enterprises that orchestrate violence across the city. Asking police to fix crime is like asking a doctor to prevent a gun shot. At it’s best, each can create a process to help deal with the consequences of one, but there is little it can do to prevent it.

    Police don’t stop crime. At best they mitigate it and their ability to do that is fairly minimal given the lousy level of trust between cops and the people they are supposed to protect. That’s probably the most fundamental aspect, and far more important that undercover units. The U.S. Attorney’s office has explaining to do about why so many repeat offenders are back on the street, but we should be loath to let case filings and arrests be the metric we use to judge effectiveness. If we force cops and prosecutors to make quotas, then they will and that hardly means justice has been served.

    The things that reduce crime are investments in children’s health, educations, stable homes, economic security that comes with having a decent job a reasonable distance from home, and a hundred different other things that are explicitly not law enforcement. In fact, the evidence is fairly clear that our focus on law enforcement and tough penalties has crowded out investment in those other priorities. Much of your vitriol would spur the council on to double down on those counter productive tactics and that makes all of us worse off.

    Our efforts must be bigger than the police and reflect our commitment to fostering healthy communities and our ability to get Congress out of the District’s business.. I applaud CM Nadeau and Chief Lanier for their steady approach to a problem which offers no short term solutions.

    • U-Logan-Shaw

      I don’t think that most are suggesting combatting violent crime is merely a responsiblity of there police or the only way to prevent violent crime. There are dozens of marco-environmental factors that City leaders should and have evaluated to fix the systemic problems that lead to violent crime, including the criminal justice system, rehabilitation programs, education, community engagement, housing, etc. This discussion focuses on how to deploy the finite police resources in the most effective way. Targeted proactive policing won’t stop all crime, or even all violent crime. But effective policing strategies with specially designated units can prevent some violent crime and has dramatically reduced violent crime in cities that have experienced similar spikes.

      • Columbia Heights

        Vice squads aren’t the only way to target crime in a tactical way. Chief Lanier makes extremely compelling points about them having outlived their usefulness. She’s also pointed out that each district commander still has a crime suppression unit capable of acting in coordinated fashion against problem areas. It’s important that MPD use it’s limited resources to target the people who are orchestrating the widespread violence in the city while giving commanders the resources to come down hard when it’s smart. I think Chief Lanier is doing that and it will pay off while focusing on the macro issues she can combat which are driving the violence. It’s important to let the new use of vice squads get off the ground (they’ve only been working since June – three months into this spike which their existence didn’t prevent). If people really are suggesting we are suggesting this isn’t just a police response issue and actually reflects the macro-econominc and political issues you allude than I wish they would spend less time bemoaning people like CM Nadeau for pushing a diverse set of priorities which actually serve them. I also wish people were putting just as much pressure on other agencies of government as they are on Chief Lanier. They aren’t though, at all and it’s short sighted and harmful if acted upon.

        • U-Logan-Shaw

          You raise fair points about the reconstituted vice squad/crime suppression efforts and the entire community hopes any and all new tactics are successful. However, I find it unusual there seems to be a disconnect within the police ranks about whatever the new approach entails, and not just from police union – many officers don’t seem to know the strategy, or either know and don’t support it. As far as CM Nadeau, she brought this on herself. Perhaps she supports a diverse set of priorities, including proactive and preventive policing, community engagement, strengthening social programs, etc., but you wouldn’t know it from reading her message – which created the impression to me and for many that she dismissed proactive policing and her approach solving the problem was through a neighborhood watch program. It was amateurish, bordering on politically tone-deaf, which is surprising considering she is a former political/Congressional communications staffer.

  • Carolyn T. Matthews

    This is a mistake because in certain neighborhoods are being held hostage by all of these drug activities and wars. Until you have lived with this nightmare for years and years please don’t assume to know what will work best for me. I have walked these streets with Orange Hats; attended PSA meetings; crime summits. What I have learned is that the vice squads have been most effective because they know the criminal mind. Each time we take these walks we are taking away the much needed resources and in some cases jeopardizing our citizens. We don’t want targets just to prove we are involved. Heroin and synthetic drugs are extremely dangerous in any residential neighborhood because a fix or hit is more important then a life. When assess any criminal behavior the best advice is to listen to the citizens that have been negatively impacted for years.

  • Cohi Guy

    She is unbelievably out of touch. Several things about the letter really frustrated me. How do I walk up to the drug dealers house on my street and say, hey buddy, can you stop selling drugs, the street is kinda of tired of being shot at? Is there some kind of manual Nadeau is going to hand out with the title : ‘How to talk to your really dangerous neighbor’? I live on a very well lit street, but that does not stop the countless windows being smashed in, people being mugged/ robbed at gun point. I understand the need for longterm solution. But the last 4 years were a long-term solution, we saw a decline in homicides over the past three years. At time of writing, we are two homicides away from passing last years numbers, this is not a blip. This is a reason to be concerned. I think vice units are exactly what this police force needs. Police officers that are involved in their community, they are aware of the troubled areas and can pay attention to them.

  • Daniel

    When I hear Brianne Nadeau talking about “partnerships” “connections” and “community involvement” as the primary ways to tackle the recent spike in crime, I hear a naive (1 term?) politician talking platitudes and honestly having no clue how to address a serious issue. What a mistake to vote for her…I never thought she could be so tone deaf to the legitimate concerns of her constituency. Neighborhood watches are great, but saying they are the solution to the crime problem is akin to victim blaming…if only we would be better organized, more involved, etc. crime would go down. How about giving the police the tools they need to actually do something about this?

  • MPD Officer

    Apparently this council member is either mis informed and completely has no clue. Vice units were more than just jumping out on people. The leadership of this city is the worst it’s ever been. The high crime rates have nothing to do with policing. There are serious social problems in many neighborhoods. Social services needs to get MORE involved NOT more police.

  • Park View Resident

    On June 9th I witnessed an individual selling drugs in front of my home from his Jaguar; I reported the incident in detail to a police dispatcher; officers arrived, searched the vehicle and found heroine; officers detained the individual and took my statement in person near the scene; i returned home and watched the officers release the individual and leave the scene (4th amendment issue, must sign consent to search a vehicle apparently).

    At first I was very upset. I also did not appreciate Brianne’s staff’s response to my email concerns – “Please handle the next situation in the exact way that you did. Calling the police is exact protocol in this situation. Unfortunately, in this case, the police were unable to keep the suspect in custody. However, You were doing exactly what the police express you do in these situations.”

    But after this incident I started videotaping and photographing every drug deal I witnessed openly and then I would call the police. Of course response times vary by day and sometimes they never came. However, I haven’t seen a drug deal near my house since. I haven’t seen that shady Jaguar driver popping his hood to tell everyone the shop is open either. People talk and the word is out; the crazy lady that lives on the corner is calling cops, writing down licence plates, and videotaping you. Brianne is right – we need to take action as a community if we expect to see any results.

  • Mr. Poon

    CM Nadeau moved here to do national politics. She’s a true believer in national progressive causes and her vision is — and always has been — to make Washington, DC a lab for those ideas. The good people of Ward One ousted a (admittedly corrupt) local hero for Air America, national politics. It’s exactly what we don’t need. We have serious problems with crack, heroin, and violence, not to mention extremely poor city services, that we’re asking her to address and the response is hooey about long term solutions and an implication that our police tactics are racist. It’s profoundly unacceptable. To the person above who claims we’ve been watching too much Fox News, I’d tell them CM Nadeau is watching far too much MSNBC. We don’t need national politics here. We need to address hyper-local problems by doing what works.

  • A Non

    Was she not voted in by the virtue of voting Graham out? We think voting to be a privilege when really it has become anything but. I expected nothing but lip service from her so I exercised the intelligent choice of not voting . Much like buying a car there is no buyers remorse when you just look at the car and not drive it home. No one should be shocked by her response as she courts the affordable housing constituents and not the home owners. Calling for residents to become part of the solution to crime when DC has a higher tax rate and worse schools than the neighboring jurisdictions is a guaranteed plan for disaster. Kumbaya quartet concerts and peace marches are the full extent of her repertoire.

    • west_egg

      I’d argue that “not voting” will never be the intelligent choice.

      • west_egg

        Caveat: This assumes one is an informed, engaged voter as A Non almost certainly is.

  • dcunited1

    Horay for Brianne! Public safety is a community issue, the police have their responsibiliteis and the community their own as well. The summer bump in crime is not a reason to bring the storm troopers in (ie, the Jump out crews…well, maybe if you are Donald Trump) the crime we are experiencing is random and while more than we want it will likely disspipate over the next few weeks. The core of the problem are young people without supervision and who lack good parenting/adult upbringing. The MPD can not fix bad parenting nor can teachers or the District government. Each of us/you need to keep your eyes open for suspicious behavior and call MPD when your instinct kicks in. In the meantime and the best bet and long term strategy is to get involved in Orange Hat patrols, neighborhood organizations, tutoring and mentoring opportunities.

    • west_egg

      If you can keep a straight face while dismissing the current crisis as “the summer bump in crime” then your head must be as deep in the sand as Nadeau’s.

    • anonymous

      From what I read in the Post recently, the victims and perpetrators of homicides this year are actually above school age. So the notion that going back to school fixes the problems is not correct. Summer heat is probably a better correlation for violence.

    • lol

      this is the most naive comment ever. welcome to DC, person. let us know how you feel about this once you’ve been mugged.

    • Anony

      You’re kidding right?

  • Steve

    The 7 hundred block of T Street NW (behind the CVS) is a long standing hangout for heroin users and dealers. The recent shooting was just across 7th St., and a school is on the other side of T Street. I walk by this spot several times per week. There is no police presence or enforcement. An orange hat patrol is supposed to deal with this during the day? Really? I voted for Jim but I am willing to give Ms. Nadeau a chance. Sounds like she needs a reality Check and more.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      I sent a note to Claudia Barahona about that block a month ago- she didnt respond.

      • Anony


        • 7thStTechGuy

          It really shouldnt be a shocker- but if Brianne wants us to police our own neighborhoods we need her to respond when we need backup- but hey- its just our tax dollars.

  • Thought

    I live near the intersection on 14th Street where a man was grabbed from the sidewalk, pulled into a van, and sexually assaulted.
    If I participate in a neighborhood watch as suggested, I may be the next victim.
    Brianne, I wish I had the luxury of living in a condo several floors up from this growing madness. It would be awesome to take the elevator to the parking garage each morning and safely be on my way. Unfortunately many of us use the sidewalks to get from place to place. And we are scared.

  • Anonymouse

    ” When violence and drug activity were at their worst, what made the biggest difference was residents partnering with MPD, taking back their blocks and being part of the solution.”
    Is she referring to gentrification? Because that was the one thing that actually did work when CoHi, Shaw and other places were actually very dangerous.


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