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“they started eating the food off the grill and have now been there for over an hour. Wondering your thoughts.”

by Prince Of Petworth June 20, 2016 at 2:10 pm 120 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I are wondering if we are the only ones that find this odd. Our neighbors are having a BBQ/party and the cops showed up [over the weekend]. At first we thought maybe there was a noise complaint, but they started eating the food off the grill and have now been there for over an hour. It started with one MPD vehicle and now there are two. They are in their uniforms and in marked cars. Are they on the clock? Is this appropriate? Wondering your thoughts. This is in Petworth on Georgia Ave (4D).”

  • elly2

    Engaging with residents and eating a meal (as all humans are required to do from time to time)… yeah real outrageous

    • Anon

      Seriously – this is what effective “community policing” looks like.

      • Caroline


    • ParkViewneighbor

      yeah, I mean the number of MPD officers engaging the community of teenage weed smokers in front of the Dunkin Donuts at Quincy is amazing ! They must be reaaaaally engaging them a lot because the teenage weed smokers are constantly blazing and the MPD officers are reaaaaaally not looking to do anything about it.
      I love to see friendly relationships <3

      • anon

        weed is legal in DC.

        • Anonymous

          It’s illegal to smoke weed in public. It’s also illegal to possess weed if you are under 21.

          • timmyp

            It’s amazing how many people don’t realize this.

        • Swdc

          Still illegal for teenagers and illegal to smoke in public.

      • Anon

        Surely you understand the difference between your hypothetical and OP’s anecdote..? If not, maybe it’s time for you to rejoin the kids table in the other room.

      • Andrew

        But who are the teenage weed smokers hurting?

        • V


        • thor

          so what would you have MPD do? Arrest those teenagers? That would surely be good for their development.

        • Reality

          lol…. please.

      • Distilled Water

        The war on drugs contributed to the rift between the community and the police force. Now we see neighbors trying to regain lost ground and some of you want them to go back to the way it was. The only thing that needed to be done here would have been for the OP to walk across the street and introduce themselves.

    • Bitter Elitist

      That was just Detective Yenny Ramirez and Detective Brenda Allen.

      In the food service system, gastronomic safety offenses are considered especially heinous. In Washington DC, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious culinary felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Food Safety Unit. These are their stories.


  • Bruce

    Establishing good relations with the community while on the the clock is part of the job. Just like when cops dance with kids, help the elderly mow their lawn, throw a basketball around and so on.

  • John

    I had a BBQ Friday night. If a few officers showed up uninvited, I would have welcomed them in too.

  • Anonymous

    I’d rather have MPD there than the corner boys. Many folks in Petworth would LOVE to have regular MPD presence on their block.

  • Bruce

    Perhaps you and your husband are jealous of not having been invited.

    • jacke_harrer

      i know thats right!

  • Truxton Thomas

    Seems like the kind of community policing people have been clamoring for.

  • Andrew

    This is exactly what we want more of!

  • FridayGirl

    As long as they aren’t there for several hours and aren’t ignoring calls, I think this is actually a good step towards building a relationship with the community.

  • Anonamom

    Residents: We need to see our cops in the community more!
    *Cops get out into the community*
    Residents: Not like this!
    As long as they are still responding to calls on their radios, it is absolutely appropriate. Perhaps the owner is a cop him/herself. Perhaps it is a family member. Or just a community member trying to be nice. Who knows. Why does everything have to be a problem or have an alternative motivation?

    • Anonamom

      BTW, props to the Prince for the URL!

      • textdoc


      • Heh.

    • LittleBluePenguin


  • NE DC

    1) Cops work over the weekend
    2) Sometimes they take lunch/dinner/snack breaks
    3) Sometimes they are invited by residents to partake in BBQs.

    Do you know your neighbors? If not, introduce yourself and next time they have a BBQ maybe they’ll invite you.

  • DistrictJules

    These neighbors sound awesome. If you haven’t met them yet, you should consider introducing yourself and thanking them for engaging with local law enforcement in a positive way.

  • Trinidaddy

    I know a few MPD officers and when I have a BBQ, they regularly stop by and hang out for a bit while on duty. They never drink, their radios are always on so they’re ready to respond, and they’re never there for very long. I chalk it up to community policing and always appreciate them dropping by. My guests don’t seem to mind, although there is some initial panic when they see officers in uniform. Next time, invite them over when you’re having a cookout – i think it goes a long way.

  • Anonymous

    I’m pooping right now and on the clock, should I let my boss know and make sure I’m not paid for it?

    I also checked Facebook a few times, took a walk outside the other day when it wasn’t blazing hot, etc.

  • Mark

    Have you called the station? If not how do you know they’re really cops and not some well disguised criminal or terrorist group fueling up and planning mischief?

  • caphillnative

    Ugh, I imagine that you guys are awful to have as neighbors and probably never actually speak to or acknowledge your neighbors, which would take a lot less effort and time than taking a picture and sending this email to popville.

    • FridayGirl

      +1. Yeah, not gonna lie, the picture was kind of a creepy move.

  • Dan

    I don’t see a problem. It’s good seeing our police officers and the community building relationship. What’s so bad about inviting your PSA officers to your cook out for a plate of food? Unfortunately some people have too much time on their hands. Get a life!

  • K

    Police stopping by neighborhood BBQs has been happening since the dawn of neighborhood BBQs. Growing up my parents always invited the local sheriffs deputies and firemen to swing by to grab a plate. It is community policing and they are building relationships with the people who live in their precincts.

    Also, you realize you are being the nosy neighbor right?

  • Halfsmoke

    How much for one rib?

    • Mya

      I just hollered – made me think of that old skit from In Living Color with Chris Rock “$2.00!!!! GOOD LAWD THATS A LOTTA MONEY!” LOL

      • Anonamom

        Chris Rock was on SNL.

        • niceflipflop

          And it was from I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, anyway.

          • Truxton Thomas

            Yes, it was the same act from Chris Rock. He did it on I’m Gonna Get You Sucka (Wayans bros.) and later on In Living Color (also Wayans bros.). I don’t believe he ever did it on SNL, but I could be wrong.

      • OP Anon

        I loved that skit. Cheap Pete! So funny.
        And yes, it was on In Living Color. He would sometimes have a guest role on the show.

        • niceflipflop

          Wow, I’ve got to eat some crow here. I was a pretty big fan of ILC when I was a kid and had no idea he did Cheap Pete on there. But it makes sense, give then Wayans Bros. connection.

          I stand corrected!

  • I Dont Get It

    Grilled donuts would be perfect to serve!

    • I Dont Get It
      • Truxton Thomas

        Get out! I want—nay, need—that in my life right now.

        • I Dont Get It

          The sugar glaze makes a mess on the grill grates but oh so worth it!

          • textdoc

            How about unglazed doughnuts?

          • Blithe

            Since it’s a mess anyway, might as well go for broke and grill them as cheese burgers….

  • Daniel

    Count me in with the majority of commenters here: I think this is great for the community and if I were grilling out front I’d welcome them to stop by and I would feed them.

  • madmonk28

    As long as they’re not drinking, it doesn’t seem much different than taking their lunch break together. I want my public servants to feel like they’re part of my community.

  • KD

    Thank you for idea of inviting MPDC to my next cookout! Both as a thank you and as an opportunity to become familiar with the layout of my building, should they ever need to respond there.

  • Annon MPD (2)

    I am always appreciative of the residences that let me grab some food at their cook-out. Depending on what district an officer works in, really matters when I comes to eating while at work. Not only on the selfish side of enjoying a burger, it’s nice to meet people. Hear their story, hear my story, and also every time I’m in the block I know who I am say “hi!” To. The poster about grilled donuts, that’s a new one. I’ll have to try those out, and yeah of course while on duty. Ha!

    • I Dont Get It

      You’re welcome to stop by for grilled donuts–I suspect you can smell them from the street!

      • Annon MPD (2)

        You win the internet today. Haha.

    • DCReggae

      Can I do a ride-along with you on a summer Saturday? We can hit all the best BBQ’s together!

      Seriously, though.

  • hammers

    So regardless of whether or not you agree or support it- MPD is a reactionary force, which mobilizes in response to calls. There are measures in place to keep them from street patrolling and whatnot. So, that’s why you often see cops just hanging out, texting, chilling. (I’m not a cop, but I know several and that is how it was explained to me)

  • Anon

    Yup… what they ALL said…

  • LGinMtP

    It’s also possible they all weren’t on the clock depending on what time it was they may have been their over shift change and that’s why they were comfortable staying a bit longer.

  • V

    Hmmm, perhaps they were invited??? Cops need BBQ love too

  • CatieCat

    I was at shake shack a few weeks ago and a cop cut the whole line to order his burger. That, my friend, was an outrage. This BBQ business seems great!

  • zandunga

    Did Megamart bring the fajita or were they required to go to the store and spend $50 for on groceries for free pickup and delivery.

  • Blthe

    Let’s see: Most of us want police officers to have a more visible presence in our communities; most of us want the members of our communities to interact more frequently and positively with cops; most of us eat a couple of times a day; Win/Win/Win. Props to the Cops — and to the neighbors that fed them.
    . As others have said, as long as the officers are still available to respond to any calls, this is what community policing looks like. I hope that the OP and the OP’s husband — who “find this odd” — make an effort to get to know their neighbors better. As I’ve said before, what I find odd is this predilection for what I guess is an effort at public shaming by people who seem to have made little effort to get to know their actual neighbors.
    .I have very fond childhood memories of block parties in Petworth when I was a kid. The police usually came, and were welcomed as an integral part of our neighborhood community. They also came to activities like the May Day celebrations at Park View, and — gasp — even ate hot dogs off the grill. For some of us, this went a long way towards helping us to develop positive relationships with police officers.

  • Is your husband’s name Abner?

    • Mr. Magoo

      You beat me to it! Who knew Gladys Kravitz had moved to Petworth?

      • Well, not you, because you mistook her for someone else, leading to hijinks…

        • I Dont Get It

          In the next picture there are several frogs standing around the grill.

    • Reality

      +100000 was thinking the same thing

  • TX2DC

    What?? Cops were eating at a neighborhood BBQ?!? [clutches pearls]
    Perhaps you and your spouse should take up a hobby if you have this much time on your hands.

    • Dan

      LOL at clutches pearls. I remember Lafayette saying this to Jason Stackhouse dancing in his tighties whities on HBO’s True Blood.

      • textdoc

        Can we retire the phrase “to clutch pearls”? It always seems somewhat misogynistic to me?

        • LittleBluePenguin

          I kind of like that phrase, because it makes me think of some mean old WASPy lady….I suppose it could be seen as misogynistic, but eh, it’s not one I’m going to get too upset about. I’d just settle for not being told to smile by random guys when I’m walking down the street.

          • textdoc

            I also dislike it because it’s dismissive/mocking.
            Yes, the OP is off base in her/her concerns, but I think it’s possible to educate the OP, argue a position, etc. without being dismissive.

          • LittleBluePenguin

            true, I agree it can be used too often in a simply dismissive manner. But in this case, I am truly at a loss as to how to “better educate” someone who seems hellbent on seeing the worst in a situation, with no room for the benefit of a doubt.

          • textdoc

            After seeing the OP’s post from 4:19 p.m., I’m at a loss. I thought once he/she realized that cops weren’t goofing off while on the clock, he/she would be cool with it. Instead he/she is lambasting the concept of community policing.

        • Dan

          This is funny Lafayette clutch his pearls on HBO True Blood watching Jason Stackhouse dancing. This scene was so funny!


    • DCReggae

      Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children!!!

  • Why the hell don’t you walk your ass across the street and ask them? They are you neighbors for Christ’s sake. How is PoPville supposed to tell you whether they are on the clock or not?

  • Anonymous Shaw Dweller

    If this is the only way that we can obtain the ‘community policing’ that the community has been calling on for years no – only to have deaf ears by the police chief — then we all should be adopting this measure.

    • textdoc


  • textdoc

    There are few occasions when PoPvillagers are unanimous in their opinion. This is one of them.

    • Bitter Elitist

      This is hilarious.

  • Colhi

    The only thing inappropriate about this is the creepy photos being taken from the bushes.

  • SilverSpringGal

    Jesus I’m so sorry but FUCKING NIMBYS. Let it go. Cops are actually doing their civic duty and interacting with residents. Get a grip. Breathe!

  • OP

    OP here. DC has way too much crime for MPD to be doing “community policing.” I think this is an abuse of taxpayers dollars. And just because cops have always come to neighborhood BBQs doesn’t mean that they should.

    • Tom

      I disagree, but I’m impressed that you’re defending your position.

    • Blithe

      I’m genuinely curious. Surrounded by a “snitches get stitches” ethos and complaints about cops who just sit in their cars, we have some police officers who are making a genuine effort to get to know the neighbors and the neighborhood. Their presence serves as a deterrent to crime, and the relationships that they’re fostering enhance their ability to intervene more effectively once crimes have occurred. What, in your opinion, would be a better use of taxpayers dollars?

      • Kimberly


        • FridayGirl

          +2. There is literally a body of literature that supports community policing. I think that if one can’t understand the merits of good police relations with the community yet is still upset about crime, that perhaps one should just avoid cities all together.

    • Blithe
    • TBD

      As a taxpayer, I want the MPD to have good morale and I think these type of interactions support that. A police force with good morale is going to do a better job policing and everyone benefits, citizens and officers.

    • Kimberly

      You really need to do more impact on community policing, and its impact on crime and neighborhoods. Spoiler: It works. Please visit the USDOJ COPS Office (Community Oriented Policing Services) website for resources. Really. You want to know your local officers, and them to know you. When you need them most, you want a friendly face. And, criminals don’t like victims that are chummy with cops.

      • Kimberly

        *research – *research on community policing. (my bad)

    • KP

      What do you think they should be doing instead of interacting with the neighbors? They have radios, there is no reason to think they were ignoring calls. Would you prefer that they sit in their cars doing nothing?

    • kate900

      Oh honey. Welcome to the south.

    • GS

      Having a chat with the members of the community is one thing. Accepting any form of gift, be it a burger, hot dog or a joint, quickly gets into the grey area. That is why most professions have either an explicit or unspoken rules about not accepting, or having thresholds on gifts. What if the people who are hosting these bbq sessions are subject to any complaints that require police intervention. Whose side would the cops take? P.S. I’m sure someone on here is going to ask for proof that consumption of a free burger would result in favoritism.

      • west_egg

        “What if the people who are hosting these bbq sessions are subject to any complaints that require police intervention”
        Then the police will have an easier time responding to the complaint since they already know a little about these folks. I fail to see this as anything but positive.

      • Anon X

        Don’t be a dumbass.

        • FridayGirl

          lol, yes, this. +1.

      • That guy

        Get a life!

    • Please stay in Petworth and don’t ever move into my neighborhood. You’re the problem here, not these people.

      • Tom


    • madmonk28

      You should read The Wagon, by Martin Preib. Preib was a bartender and worked a lot of other service jobs before finally becoming a police officer. He realized that the yuppies in the city thought of the police as just another service entry job. He was “the help” and expected to know his place.

  • zipdc

    Well there goes the neighborhood! I’m with everyone else here – 2 cars and a few cops sharing a meal with community members on their beat sounds like a GOOD thing. Come back when there are 10 cars and they’re drinking and partying all night on ATVs with your neighbors.

  • Ryan

    Are their radios on? If so they are still ready and able to respond. Nothing wrong with community out reach as long as they aren’t drinking alcohol.

  • markus

    There was a bike officer that would often grab a coffee and talk to folks sitting outside Ebeneezers. Got to know him a bit, and then when I was mugged, he ended catching the call. Was very encouraging to have him working the case, and ended up running after the guys and caught them (well, 3 out of 4, but hey).

  • Anon

    Get real. Stopping by the party is not the issue… It’s the length of time they spent there. MPD needs to realize they under more scrutinity now with rising violent crime — especially in Ward 4. What do they expect? Be smart guys. I hope they are disciplined.

  • Steven

    I’m not sure why this is an issue. Police Officers are allowed to take breaks while at work and also while in uniform. Maybe they were off the clock and stopped by on their way home. In case you didn’t realize it, DC does allow officers to take their cruisers home at night. I personally have given officers food while they are on the clock in my neighborhood. In the south where I a from they call it good manners. Maybe if everyone engaged with with Police like this instead of building unwarranted conspiracy theories we could bridge these divides of mistrust towards the Police that have taken over our country.

  • Huesoanon

    Agree with points on community policing but it’s legit to question the possibility of police spending over an hour at one location if they are on the clock. Just as the poster is aware they are preoccupied do are any criminals in the vicinity.

    Stop using every opportunity to chide posters so you can feel good about your opinions.

    • Blithe

      It is legit to raise questions. It’s also legit to point out that while the OP apparently timed the visit and monitored the BBQ consumption, no one has — as of yet — reported on any conversations that may have taken place. Obviously I don’t know either. But frequently people in PoPville have made comments like: “EVERYONE knows about X house on the corner, why don’t the police do anything?” It strikes me that these types of neighborhood interactions offer excellent opportunities for community members to discuss even quite specific concerns — informally — with the police, while creating the kind of mutual trust that might enhance cooperation and the exchange of information between the police and civilians.
      — I’m not sure who you’re directing your last comment to, but a strength of PoPville — at least from my point of view — is the opportunity for people of varying experiences and backgrounds to share our opinions with each other. I sincerely hope that most of us feel good about this at least most of the time.

      • FridayGirl

        And re: the last sentence, the popville community has zero obligation to validate anyone’s opinions. OP asked for ours and the community spoke. If you don’t want to know, don’t ask.

    • Nobody knows whether they were on the clock, what they were talking about, etc, because the OP chose to to hide in the bushes and resort to internet vigilantism rather than walking across the street and talking to his / her neighbors.

  • Reality

    In the midwest people will host picnics and cookouts with the explicit reason to invite the police so neighbors can meet them, ask questions, and connect. OP needs to get a life.

    • dunning-kruger

      …and a therapist. It is not normal or healthy to be such a curmudgeon especially off so many grouchy assumptions, this post is more about the OPs state of mind (paranoia, fear, suspicion, agitation) than police or BBQs.
      It is too bad the internet needs humans to stay up, I kind of wish it would outlast us all so the human race’s legacy could be the distilled mosaic of mental illness that is comments.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    Props to the cops

  • Caroline

    Last night I saw an elderly couple sitting on their stoop drinking wine and chatting genially with a police officer. It was one of the first times I thought it might be nice to be a police officer– that’s not a bad way to spend the workday!

  • ChooChooPolice

    Part of the job, one of the perks.
    It’s like some jobs where you can drink and do business, where you can take two-three hrs off during your day and just do whatever, where you can charge everything to the company card, where you can telework, where you can sit outside your firehouse and look at beautiful women all day, etc. job perks.
    Different businesses do business differently. I.e different professions day to day are different from one another. Some people may think they know how to do someone else’s job, but majority of the time they don’t and they don’t have a full idea of what’s going on for that particular job they are Monday morning quarterbacking.
    This particular photo just may be some patrol officers in their psa enjoying some grub while on duty in their psa. Giving a police presence in that area and getting to know the people that live there. Or it might not even be patrol officers but some other community liaison unit or some unit not in a patrol capacity but standing by for prisoner transport or the curfew/truancy wagon unit. Who knows, but all this is negligible in my biased opinion.

  • Thatguy

    It’s a beautiful weekend day…. And you and your husband are sitting in your house watching other people enjoying there weekend and your spying on them? My thoughts are that you need another hobby and should mind your own business.

    No wonder people don’t want to be the police….


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