“It’s shocking that four men could plan a homicide at a busy gas station, visibly put guns into their pants, run an entire block, murder someone, and flee the scene without being caught”

by Prince Of Petworth August 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm 78 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

If anyone who lives along upper 14th Street haven’t already seen this video, it’s worth taking a look.

It’s shocking that four men could plan a homicide at a busy gas station, visibly put guns into their pants, run an entire block, murder someone, and flee the scene without being caught.  We haven’t seen anything this brazen along these few blocks in years, probably since 2010.  I suspect some of your readers may think this sort of incident is common on the 3400-3600 blocks of 14th Street, but it most certainly isn’t.

This incident was a result of less aggressive policing along this stretch, the elimination of undercover vice, and, in my view, a lack of interest among our politicians in upper 14th Street.  I emailed Councilmember Nadeau about this; I explained that I believe the problem is the growing tolerance of the crack cocaine trade and a lack of pressure on MPD to have more of a presence in this area.

I told her that I believe her agenda that so often concerns national progressive issues isn’t going to help us prevent homicides.  Her office’s response to these sorts of emails has often been that the meager money she’s secured for Clean Teams and a Main Street program, or that a federal law closing the gun show loophole, will have the effect of interdicting homicides in Columbia Heights.  Invariably, her office lists her accomplishments or refers us to her newsletter.


Nadeau’s predecessor – like him or not – had outstanding constituent services.  Today, many emails to her office are obviously met with confusion and responses that read like they were drafted by legislative assistants on Capitol Hill as replies to constituent letters.  I think it’s fair to say that most of us aren’t concerned with the next election and instead want to ensure there are no more murders within feet of our homes.

To be fair, Nadeau explained what she’s doing to address the issue and she copied Captain Wright of the Fourth District.  She apologized that her hard work is not “coming across” to me.  (My sense is that’s the case because it’s been so ineffective.)  The Captain confirmed that this is in fact an issue with the crack cocaine trade and has committed to being more vigilant along the corridor.  MPD has focused on the evening hours at the Exxon but doesn’t have the presence into late night hours that he would like.

I write this today because each time I bring this up with MPD, I’m told that I need to speak with the politicians.  They point out that what they need is pressure from residents to do specific things. Most officers I speak with off the record are unhappy about being less aggressive in recent days. And we’re not having much luck changing the situation. I’m hoping more civic engagement will get the ball moving.


Matt Goldschmidt | Treasurer, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A | Single Member District (SMD) 1A04″

  • ParkViewneighbor


    i understand your confusion and anger (?) at this event but it’s not like it is a brand new situation. 14th st around the Exxon station has been shady at best for years. Once in a while, MPD put floodlights nearby but they don’t seem to do much more. I lived for years a couple blocks up and the strip around Otis has not improved: drunk or high as a kite people, drug deals and other niceties.

    Sadly, once again, as mentioned countless times here, why would our elected officials bother ? DC is booming, houses in the neighborhood sell for 100s of thousands of dollars even though they are inches away from crack houses, tax money is good (good enough to waste on streetcars and expensive shelters), and people are still moving into CH…

    As a former neighbor and not so far resident now, I really appreciate your efforts but I’m sorry to tell you this is not going to change. CH is not the hot place anymore and the “clean-up” has not been done thoroughly enough to have a stable base to grow from. So this will happen again and Bowser and her minions will not do anything. It’s better to cater to the sunday church crowd and rake easy votes in. See B Todd in Ward 4 for a younger version of our current mayor

    • NH Ave Hiker

      Well put.

    • Timmy

      This comment seems to be exactly the type of attitude that Commissioner Goldschmidt is trying to change with his letter.

    • annonny

      Your logic is the best argument for voting our do-nothing, spendthrift mayor out of office in 2018!

    • Blithe

      How did you make the leap from dealing with violence to “cater(ing) to the sunday church crowd”? What am I missing here?

      • ParkViewneighbor

        Probably the phrase “rake easy votes in” ?

        If you want to get re-elected, what would you choose? Going to ribbon cutting ceremonies, talking to people at bingo nights or get serious against violence ? Which option is the easiest and quickest way to get votes ?

      • Anon

        The leap is fairly straight-forward: effective ways to deal with the immediate violence may likely infringe on civil rights of some young black men (jump-outs, Vice). This is, understandably, not very popular with the “Sunday church crowd”.

        • stacksp

          I hope the implication is not that the “Sunday Church Crowd” are pro-violence or anything of that nature. They are pro what directly impacts them just as any other sector or group (LGBT, Bike advocates, etc).

          • dcd

            I think the implication is that they are anti their sons and grandsons going to jail.

          • Anon

            stacks – that wasn’t at all the implication there – the only people I imagine to be pro-violence are the folks actively engaging in it. I doubt such people would have a strong voting block. I implied that the “church crowd” wouldn’t want their sons/grandsons being harassed by the police.

        • NW_DC

          Ignorant question – lived in D.C. for only a couple years now – what exactly does a Vice squad and ‘jump-out’ do?

          • stacksp

            Used to be Tuesdays on Rock Creek Church Rd when I grew up but basically through out the day, an unmarked car would just speed through and jump out on any known or “Suspected” dealers, users etc in an attempt to find drugs, contraband and weapons.

            It got to the point when people knew when they were coming. I would be sitting on the porch with my family while the hustlers moved about and you would notice that a ford focus had been through the street 3 times in the past hour and you were like jump outs are about to strike at any moment and boom… there it was…

          • Anony

            Effective police work

          • Anon

            Essentially undercover cops who targeted suspected dealers/accomplices/users – not entirely unrelated to stop and frisk policies in NYC and elsewhere. The problem is that they were not always accurate in whom they detained/harrassed, and many of their “jump outs” did not result in tangible evidence to successfully prosecute their suspects.

          • eva

            Yeah I was always confused by how jump out actually snuck up on people, because as someone completely uninvolved in the drug trade it was always abundantly clear to me when they were prepping to “jump out.” 4 guys riding around in a sedan together, some black and some white was not a common sight…especially when some of them were obviously wearing vests beneath their shirts. I guess it must have worked in some way because they sure seemed to arrest a lot of people.

          • madmonk28

            Yeah, but vice isn’t just jump out and I don’t know that anyone is talking about bringing the jump out squads back. Vice was also plainclothes police who worked a community, got to know it and conducted longer police work than uniformed patrol officers.

          • mdtodc

            They were also involved in intelligence gathering. It was more proactive policing in my opinion. They would gather information and attempt to stop a lot of nefarious activity at the root as opposed to just reacting once something happened.
            When crime rates began going down they believed that these units were no longer necessary.
            I personally can see how this made sense at the time, but in reality it ended up being a bad idea.
            Just admit it and bring them back.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            Ever seen the Shield?

          • stacksp

            Yes, my response was more geared towards the jump outs. VICE from what I have seen on TV, reality TV etc appears to be a more tactical approach.

      • FridayGirl

        I think I missed something, too. I’m confused.

      • Blithe

        Thanks for the clarifying responses. Often, PoPville comments re: Sunday church goers imply that the vast majority of them are coming in from MD — so the connection between “votes” and “church crowd” wasn’t readily apparent to me. I’d argue that the church crowd is not monolithic, and that many people who attend church are also both affected by violence and eager to address it in non-civil-rights-infringing ways, but these issues might be too much of a derail for this particular post.

        • tom

          my guess would be that a lot of the former dc residents, church goers, still vote in dc. heck they still send their kids here. why not vote?

    • lrds

      I’m not so sure that Todd and crowd can be assured of easy votes. See his most recent primary, which was significantly closer than I assume he ever would have predicted. While there are a number of reasons for that, that Todd is viewed in the neighborhood as a leader with a lot of talk and not a lot of follow up is no secret (though I think he is a more responsive – or at least his staff is – than Nadeau). I will likewise be surprised if Nadeau survives her next primary. Now, whether this amounts to anything in terms of public safety remains to be seen, and would depend very much on the sort of candidacies opponents run. Todd’s opponent didn’t really highlight public safety as an issue (at least moreso than Todd) and I’d be curious to see what might have happened if he had.
      I personally think the easier and shorter-term target is Lanier, given that she’s been here nearly 10 years and might understandably be looking at moving on anyway. Replacing Lanier would be an neat political solution for Bowser – see me shaking things up in response to concerns – that may have no real results.
      In the interim, it seems like some combination of public shaming, relentless engagement by neighbors across all DC services, and not forgetting to follow up on specific spots is the only useful solution. This includes calling 911, but given the challenges of the 911 system, apparently has to be paired with contacted the Lt for any follow up. It continues to shock me when district commanders claim to be unaware of various well-known hot spots, and while I am skeptical, at least part of it seems to come from incredibly poor management of 911 calls.
      But I am likewise skeptical when commanders or claim they cannot allocate resources to cover them, or claim that yes they know about the problem but can’t do anything about (that last just insulting to anyone’s intelligence – policing is a practice, not a response-only knee jerk). Manpower IS a challenge, for sure, but there are certain high priority missions that continue to be gapped while neighbors scream for them (shockingly the way you address priorities is by resourcing them, rather than say look at this priority that isn’t resourced!). At what point is this shirking – paired with “go talk to the politicians” – rather than resource management challenges?

      • NW_DC

        Curious – who do you suggest should be publicly shamed?

      • lrds

        depends on the issue, but gathering together a history of well-documented failure by DC services to respond to repeatedly reported problems has been (mildly) effective in some cases. DCRA is an example, but it seems to take effort far and beyond what is necessary for them to deal with houses that are used as the base of operations for illegal activities.

    • spookiness

      2nd sentence of last paragraph says a lot.

  • madmonk28

    I think that a big part of the problem is that there isn’t really a newspaper in Washington that focuses on city issues, the Post barely covers DC and when it does, it’s a one inch deep dive into complex issues. Todd, Nadeau, Bowser and Lanier aren’t really held accountable in any meaningful way by a watchdog. Sure, I get upset about crime in Petworth, and a resident of Columbia Heights gets upset about crime there, but there isn’t anyone taking a big picture look at the city’s problems as a whole and what our officials are doing about them.

    • ChevyChase

      “the Post barely covers DC and when it does, it’s a one inch deep dive into complex issues. ”

      Seriously? You seriously just typed that? Perhaps you missed the massive project the Post has going on right now, about how DC lets serial offenders off with little more than a smack on the wrist.

      I mean, if you don’t read the Post, whatever, no skin off my back. But to make a comment like that shows some serious ignorance.

      Here’s a link to the first part. It’s like 149 inches longer than you think:


      • Eric Luntz

        Whoa – someone works at the Post!

      • Kevin

        “…to make a comment like that shows some serious ignorance”

        Come on. Surely you know that linking to one article doesn’t come close to proving your case, right?

        The fact that The Post is capable of good local journalism doesn’t mean that they do it very much anymore. Jeff Bezos has them focusing on national and international coverage and the higher numbers of clicks that those generate.

        I can’t say I blame them, from a business standpoint, but local journalism is suffering in DC and almost every city, and there is a real cost to that.

      • also anon

        That along with today’s front page article about evictions in Brookland Manor. Just because madmonk28 doesn’t pay attention to local investigative reporting doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

        • madmonk28

          This fits in to one of two categories of Post’s local coverage: “the Dickensian Aspect.” The other category is Courtland Milloy’s “get off my lawn.”

      • HaileUnlikely

        I’m old enough and have been around for long enough to remember the Post long before Bezos bought it. Their coverage of local issues had gone down the crapper a long time ago. If anything, I think it has actually improved slightly since Bezos took over, though most of what I count as “improvement” pertains to their coverage of local issues of national significance (e.g., police abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws, selling homes of poor seniors at tax sales over very small debts, today’s story by Terrence McCoy on evictions of poor tenants from Brookland Manor over late payments of as little as $25, etc). It may be the case that they have both raised the ceiling (a few very good articles) but also lowered the floor (less coverage overall), though – a gradual shift in this direction over a long period would be difficult to detect without going back and picking up a random copy from a long time ago and comparing it to today’s.

        • eva

          Agreed. Maybe it’s gotten better, but I wouldn’t know because I stopped going to them for local news more than a decade ago (and for anything else because there are other outlets that cover national/intl stories better too).

          If it weren’t for the Capitol Weather Gang and the occasional snowstorm I would never visit their site. The Post demonstrated that DC residents are irrelevant to them and therefore they became irrelevant to me.

      • madmonk28

        Yes, I seriously wrote that. Deal with it. It doesn’t even occur to me to check the Post for local coverage anymore. Sure, they do the naked grab for a Pulitzer with big splashy series once a year, but how about more boring, but important coverage of here’s what your government is doing and why it’s important?

      • spookiness

        To the Post’s credit, if the same thing happens all the time at roughly the same place, it ceases to be “news.” Its kind of like the difference between climate and weather. If it snows everyday, its not really a story. That said, they’ve done award-winning long-form series on urban poverty and crime for decades.

    • DC Rez

      One big problem is lax prosecuting and sentencing. If the perps had a belief that they were risking death penalty or life in jail, maybe they’d be less likely to become shooters. As it is, I bet way more than half of the murderers caught in DC do less than 15 years behind bars, if that. No deterrent at all around these parts, hence the constant gangster-land gun play.

  • ustreeter

    AMEN to Nadeau being “out to lunch.” I don’t usually campaign for a candidate, but will actively support and campaign for anyone who runs against this bozo.

    • Anony

      Nadeau opposes the VICE squads and wrongly characterizes them as “jump out squads” to cater to a certain vote. The fact is VICE was effective, ask any police officer or citizen (including myself) who saw the positive effect it had on suppressing open-air drug markets which lead to violence. It has regressed and Nadeau is partly to blame for her firm opposition to them.

      • Anonymous

        VICE wasn’t only jump-out squads. In fact, that was a small fraction of their mission. They were basically plain clothes officers trained to handle long term investigations into areas with significant violent crime. A beat cop cannot do this as his/her responsability is to patrol (i.e.react/respond). DC needs VICE back and/or more resources put into long term proactive investigations into hot spots. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Mayor or Lanier wants to admit they made a mistake. However, the cost of doing nothing may cost the mayor her job.

        • Anony

          Exactly. Much more comprehensive. Though I don’t think this was Lanier’s call though I could be wrong.

  • P. Lecheval

    I didn’t know that the new Ward 1 council member had promised to magically end all violent crime in the area. Sure, there are easy solutions, but they are not humane nor are they nondiscriminatory.

    • wtf

      You watched this video and thought “that’s humane”? WTF?

      • FridayGirl

        How did you jump to interpreting what P. Lecheval said as what your comment suggests?
        “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

      • P. Lecheval

        I believe you’re confused. Very confused.

  • mpt

    Early morning on this stretch is just as bad as late night. I’m regularly out between 6-7 am and see awful stuff pretty much daily. Between the prostitution in and around the “tourist hotel” on 14th and the addicts that congregate around the bus shelter in front of the Exxon and on Otis between 14th and Papa John’s, it’s pretty grim. I’ve lived in this area for 8 years and it’s gotten worse, not better. The past year has been noticeably bad – addicts, dealers, drunks, and prostitutes are a constant presence.

    • Vonstallin

      I have lived here my whole life…and to tell the truth, its gotten way better. right now you only have about 2 problem locations.
      If you were here 12 to 25 years ago you had the whole entire region.
      It might not be perfect, but they are improving.

      Late night there is always police on duty, cars, segways, bicycles and the new Police in training on busy nights (wearing tan uniforms) that one segment of 14th street uses up a great deal of police resources.

      • eva

        When the Giant used to be up there in the spot where Allegro now is I used to choose my grocery shopping times very very carefully. Didn’t have a car and lived down on 11th and Kenyon. Walking in that area, especially weighed down with groceries always made me jumpy. At least now there are people on the streets in addition to the dealers and their customers.

        • Vonstallin

          Here is the catch…
          the drug users, dealers, prostitutes all will be hard to catch.

          you can jump out on them…most dealers do not carry drugs on them…most users do not keep drugs on them for “when they want to get high” Most prostitutes are drug users on 14th and are the hardest to catch because on average they are not walking in traditional prostitution clothes, and they are hanging out just like the rest… 3 kinds of individuals all linked basically by drugs and sex.

          Of course the police can get them for Loitering, but that ends up being a waste of tax dollars and police time. So they hand at bus stops…in court they can always say they are waiting on the bus, and will be back to doing what they do.

          The tourist home on 14th street also rent rooms monthly and actually have more rooms rented monthly for legit low income people than for the old school 15 minutes for $$$XXXX. So again, hard to get people to stop hanging out at there place of residence.

          • divebar311

            Disagree. I live around the 3400 block of 14th Street and it is VERY clear who the pimps, dealers and pros are. It is literally the same 10-15 people out here every day. I watched the video and wrote down the number to call, this Exxon station is nothing but trouble. Between the trash piling up around the property perimeter, the drunks laying on the fence and lying in their own vomit, the 40-50 year old male loiterers, bus stop drug/cracked out crew I’m surprised as to why the police do not shut down this place down entirely. It’s a crack den disguised as a gas station.

          • facts

            It’s obvious to you who they are, and probably obvious to the police, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to gather adequate evidence to successfully get them convicted of serious crimes, for the reasons noted above.

  • Vonstallin

    while they still sell crack…..a majority of the drugs being sold is Heroin..
    with the area changing from 98% black to the current less than 50% of course the drugs sold change also.

    Allot of drug dealers who use to sell Crack never used it….today is another case…the former crack dealers use Heroin and are addicted and you will see them around the 7-11 on tailor st bumming for money and food when the police are out in force on 14th street.

  • SaraEP

    Oh man my cousin used to live on Otis & 14th in the 90’s and would tell me stories of stepping over used needles and condoms while walking her dog… sad stuff.

    • mpt

      Still a lot of condoms all over the place! And human poop between parked cars. Ugh. I’m surprised at how openly the people who congregate around the Exxon smoke crack. At least I assumed it was crack – I guess it could be heroin.

  • The Invisible Hand

    A national publication could well use this neighborhood’s story to illustrate the tough trade-off’s that communities make in their efforts–should they have the political will to attempt them, in the first place–to decrease crime. The neighborhood has gone from bad to worse over the last year.

    The increased police presence and active policing that would be necessary to make a difference in this neighborhood’s level of crime would have its drawbacks. Some residents would be needlessly accosted by the police. Police malfeasance is unavoidable. But the absence of policing, the approach chosen by those in charge of this neighborhood, has costs like those that are shown in this video.

    And not shown in this video are the cat-calling, harassing howls, and threatening comments that many perpetrators of low-level crime in this neighborhood inflict on its residents daily. The neighborhood’s women, elderly, and law-abiding all suffer because of MPD’s absence here. The occasional malfeasance of an aggressive police presence seems better than the constant malfeasance residents now suffer in the absence of any serious police presence.

    Enforcement of the law is so rare it’s effectively absent on this stretch of upper 14th. As early as 7am, you will see men standing on the street, drinking tallboys and asking you for change on your way to work.

    a Local Resident

  • Tom

    As Matt said, we need the vice units back in operation – any reductions in crime without them is just coincidence and will be short-lived.. The pandering liberals perpetually elected in DC don’t give a flying shit about keeping the streets safe for law-abiding citizens as they run off to trade your safety for votes. Remember this in November.

    • NW_DC

      Oh goodness. No need to get all political. Many of us liberals live right next door to you and expect safe streets for law-abiding citizens – including both you AND me. Perpetrators of violent crime don’t choose their victims based on political affiliation.

      • Libby

        Maybe you do, but your elected officials don’t. They claim momentary outrage, then go back to their pandering ways. I agree with what this poster says. Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different result.

    • Anony

      +100 on VICE

  • say what

    Nadeua absolutely sucks and her office is in disaray as she tries to “reorganize” her staff. Don;t worry Ward 1, there will be another option when she is up for election. She is a progressive nut job who has no idea what need to happen at the LOCAL level.

    • Manchester

      +1000. I’d even take Jim Graham back. He had his own drama, but more often then not, he was responsive and effective problem solver.

  • I moved from Park View to Arlington recently and while my commute was the biggest factor, crime in this area was also a driving factor. I respect that my fear statistically was probably irrational, but nonetheless the degree of violent crime scared the crap out of me.

  • Anonymous

    MPD essentially passed al one near identical information to us regarding problems along upper 14th St. We’ve been having major issues with violent crime and prostitution. The main issue they said is that they don’t have enough officers to cover the area during peak crime times (10pm – 5am). They said that during the day, they generally have enough officers. 14th St in Ward 1 and Ward 4 has become reaaaally bad, but neither seems to be a focus of Nadeua or Todd. MPD seems to be at a loss how to handle. Several officers have told me off the record that the loss of VICE has significantly hurt their ability to handle violent crime. Just to get a VICE unit deployed to a specific Ward requires paperwork and documentation of evidence. Then, if the central authority determines VICE is warranted, it may be deployed. This process can take quite awhile — assuming anyone takes the time to even out in the request. We all know how police feel about paperwork — and I don’t mean that as a dig. They’ll straight up tell you they’d rather be on the street policing. That’s admirable, but it creates a hole in the process. I don’t know why Bowser, Nadeua and Todd can’t seem to understand the crime issue.

  • Manchester

    Pinning the blame on any elected official for this single incident is overreach to put it mildly, but I will agree that Nadeau is dreadful. She has shown a general disregard for the importance of crime prevention and the safety of her constituents, and is complacent, unresponsive, and seemingly uninterested in instituting any positive change, except when it comes to her own pet causes (namely, adding as much affordable, low-income housing as possible.) Admittedly, I voted for her thinking that just about anyone would be better than “Crooked Jim Graham, and it didn’t take long to be proven wrong. She’s dreadful. You’d think she’d been in office for 30 years, and just didn’t give a rats&*($ about doing her job anymore… I only hope we get a single decent alternative in Ward 1 next election.

  • Thought

    I have lived in Columbia Heights since 2002. The uptick in crime, graffiti, and blight in the past 2-3 years is startling. I feel that the growth of H Street and other areas has turned off the spigot that was improving our neighborhood. I am afraid that Brianne Nadeau is a one trick pony – affordable housing – and while that might get one elected, it doesn’t move the ball forward.

    Brianne isn’t helping the low-income renter community, nor recent immigrants. She is preserving the perception that its okay to remain indigent and accept poverty as a way of life.

    Brianne is using these people for her PR campaign. They just don’t know it. She is surprisingly political and surprisingly dumb.

    • Greg Boyd

      Unfortunately she failed miserably at that ” One Trick.”

  • When the individual VICE units were disbanded, my text alerts re: crime in the area went up, dramatically. It doesn’t take a statistician to notice the corollary.
    I too have heard officers speak in frustration re: the issues of the day: including the drop in the number of officers as well as the number of recruits. Some officers are as annoyed as we citizens are regarding the centralization of the VICE departments-> it’s just not working.
    This may be an oversimplification but, if it wasn’t broken before – it now is. What I’ld like to know are if there are stats out that that can document the benefit/detriment of the centralization of said Vice units.

  • Guillermo Brown

    I have a great solution to the crimes issues here and elsewhere: development. Remember what 14th St between U and Rhode Island used to look like back in the 80s and 90s? I do, because I grew up and went to high school in the city: it was a disaster. You wanna talk about prostitutes? I think the late, “great” Marion Barry once referred to Rhode Island between 15th and 14th as “the worst block in the city.” Now look at it. Sure, with development come affordability issues that need to be solved, but I would take that 1000 times out of 1000 over the current state of affairs on this part of 14th St., Georgia Ave near in Brightwood/Brightwood Park, and the like. But meanwhile, every time a developer tries to develop a property along one of these busier streets (14th or Georgia, for example), residents come out of the woodwork to bicker over a parking variance the developer is requesting. Vacant lots, storefronts, run down alleys, vacant houses, and all the other characteristics of a run down neighborhood are breeding grounds for this type of activity. The more development we have, the more residents we get, the more retail that comes in after, and ultimately the more eyes on the street to watch for this kind of crap.

  • anon

    I don’t find this that shocking. This has been going on for a long time, almost as long as there have been cars. So, 100 years or so, or almost. There are cars; there are guns; there are criminals; there are murders committed by criminals. Not new.

  • Greg Boyd

    Nadeau got taken to the cleaners on the affordable housing development at 935 Florida Ave. by being instrumental in selling a $27M property for $400K. But, she did get a Whole Foods for the poor so they should enjoy that. I met with her once and she stated “Criminals don’t like having their pictures taken” so we should all get cameras. Looks like these gents cared little about the exposure. She has to go.

  • Anon

    The multi-year trail of emails I have with the police command in my district and Cm. Nadeau herself would certainly be a good start for in-depth investigative journalism on how ineffective policing is in DC. Most readers around the country would be surprised to know that in 2016 you can still arm yourself with a gun and sell crack repeatedly and constantly along a busy street in the District, and the police can’t and won’t do a damn thing about it.

    The city leadership has gutted and neutered MPD, and instead spends their time and energy twisting themselves into pretzels to making excuses for inaction. And the 911 system is broken beyond all belief. In my experience, there is nothing anymore that can get our police and elected officials to pay meaningful attention to a known problem spot. Not murders, shootings, or even assaults on officers. Nothing.

  • Annon MPD (2)

    Okay, so as an officer and a resident of DC here’s my opinion. We need Vice Squads back, but we don’t need them to be the “Jump out” squads of the 90s. We need them back because their job is to investigate drugs markets, persons of intrest, and such. They do that by buy busts, UC, and other means. But when they do that they then file for warrants and “hit” the suspected drug house. to be able to stop these houses/people there has to be in-depth investigations. Especially now, the drug trade isn’t normally on the street corner.(although it does happen still). Most of the drug trade is through social media and cell phones. Without investigations, they go unchecked. Normal patrol officers don’t have time to investigate a corner, or a group of guys “possibly selling drugs”. Within the last three years we normally have two or three cars a PSA. And within a given tour, those cars are getting calls from thefts from autos, to shootings. Honestly, no one besides NSID is investigating drugs. BUT, NSID is focusing on the east side of the river. We all (rank and file) know how to start to turn the tide but downtown seems to not agree. Simply put, taking a specific job away from any profession, will then in turn make that jobs duties suffer for that profession. Also, patrol doesn’t have the man power to replenish Vice Squads anyways. So the department is in a no win situation. My assumption is most major departments in the country are having the same problem we are having in DC. Applications for law enforcement have taken a dive in the past few years. I believe what we (DC residents) are seeing now will in turn start happening across all major cities. We (DC) started early because people were already pissed at our department prior to the national narrative going on now about law enforcement. Just a personal point of reference. five years ago I tested for a major police department in the USA. 10K people took the test when I was there. I then took the same departments test two years ago and 2K people showed up. From what I’m told from my friends at recruiting, that they aren’t getting enough applications to fill the people just leaving the department not including the people retiring. And that’s not to include all the steps it takes to be hired. It’s sad to say, but what DC is having happen, I believe will be the norm across the country.

    • msus

      In regards to the testing, 5 years ago the unemployment rate was around 9%. Two years ago it was 6%, and now it’s hovering just under 5%. I’d say that’s also a cause for a significant decrease in applicants. If we hit another recession, I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes back up to that 10K mark (or at least much closer to that than 2K).

      • FridayGirl

        It could also be that police departments are paying pretty crappy salaries compared to other jobs. I saw on the NBC World News a couple weeks ago that salaries in some big-city police departments were in the $50,000s. I don’t know what the average pay for police in DC is, but I get paid pretty much the same amount for a cushy desk job where I get to go home at 4pm, so….

    • NENW

      Thank you for your service.

  • Vonstallin

    we need the vice squad from Rampart / The Shield lol.

  • Terry Lynch

    I walked upper 14th Street NW last night from Irving Street NW on the south to Shepherd Street on the north and the side streets of Park Road and Irving Street NW fro 14th to 16th after dark and found over two dozen streetlights out, including 2 in the 3500 block of 14th Street NW. I have reported these to the city.

    An array of city agencies in addition to MPD need to take steps to address the numerous issues – from graffiti, to vacant property, to streetlight maintenance, etc.that are causing blight and contributing to the significant lack of safety in the area of Columbia Heights.

    • Paul

      It’s not just the streetlights. All of our city services are a cruel joke. Countless detailed requests via the 311 system or direct emails to agencies go completely ignored and are marked “resolved” with zero action taken: blighted building code enforcement, sanitation enforcement, sidewalk repair, lighting repair, traffic signal malfunctions, and more. The only thing this city seems capable of doing well is issuing parking tickets, and boy are they good at that. Experience has convinced me the hard way that we don’t deserve statehood whatsoever.


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