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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.

Friends,

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

Brianne K. Nadeau
Councilmember, Ward 1

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