United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Combating crime in the District of Columbia : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, June 22, 1995 online

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unhealthy. Many alcoholics and drug addicts commit crimes to
support their addictions .

Many juveniles are in a school system that does not develop the
necessary skills to bring about « better education and help develop
higher critical thinking skills. These juveniles idolize drug
dealers with fancy cars, weapons, and jewelry. Many of these
youths do not have adequate role models and are brought up with a
jaundiced view of what is morally right and wrong.

The epidemic of crack cocaine has wrought havoc on the District of
Columbia. Rival gangs make the 'streets seem like combat zones,-
weapons with heavy firepower are coniaon in street shootings. Gangs
are constantly at war with each other and have caused many of the
middle class to flee the inner city. Violent street crime on the
lower end of the socio-economic scale is more prevalent as people
take the law into their own hands .

To protect "turf", drug gangs for the most part have concentrated
their efforts in carrying weapons with firepower that is equal to
or greater than that of the police. There is no little xespect for
the police officer In the performance of his or her duty as
evidenced by the recent slaylngs of an MPD Sergeant and 2 FBI
agents In Metropolitan Police Headquarters, the stalking and
shooting of several Metropolitan police officers, the murder of a
Prince George's County police officer, and the execution-style
murder of an FBI agent attempting to apprehend a stalker.

Often automobiles are stolen for joy riding and "show Jaoating."
Yoiing thieves also steal cars "to order" for mainy unscrupulous body
shops who contract out for stolen autos . The penalties for
stealing a car are so lenient that many times defendants are placed
on probation because the offense is categorized as a property

26-242 - 96 - 5


ae the Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals Service wichui
the District of Columbia.

6. The U.S. Park Police bicycle patrol program is another
innovative method of crime prevention detection and
apprehension of criminals. In certain circumstance a bicycle
patrol officer can move a lot faster and cover a lot more
ground than other means of pursuit and apprehension.

7. With the increased threat of acts of terrorism, the U.S. Park
Police has increased security for the White House, and the
monuments, memorials, and museums throughout the city. While
maintaining it's level of manpower the U.S. Park Police in
patrolling the beats in the city, the Force is now
additionally providing 24 -hour coverage to several additional
installations that may be in danger of terrorist attacks.

8. The U.S. Park Police is in the process of developing a variety
of pamphlets to identify various types of crime that occur in
the parks and to educate the public in their avoidance. A
pamphlet on carjacking prevention gives helpful advice on how
to enter amd exit a vehicle, what to do while on the road, and
what to do if you are involved in a carjacking. Another
pamphlet on park visitation gives helpful information
conceiming how to enjoy the parks safely and what to do if you
are attacked.

9. Since 1989 the Force has taken a lead role in the Washington
metropolitan area in the presentation of the Drug Abuse
Resistance Education (DARB) program, a comprehensive,
comnvun icy -based education plan to teach the children of this
region to recognize the dangers of drug use . We have
coordinated our efforts with the Metropolitan Police
Department and Dr. Shelvie McCoy, Director of Substance Abuse
Prevention Education for the D.C. Public Schools, to expand
the DARE program in the city. The U.S. Park Police is also
the training coordinator for the DARB program in the District
of Columbia.

10 . Ab part of our community outreach program, the Force has
established an Explorer Post in the District of Columbia that
involves young people who are interested in learning and
gaining experience in the law enforcement profession. The
Explorers assist the Force with crowd, parking, and traffic
control during parades and special events. Our Explorers have
also undertaken various projects, including Che Food for the
Needy program.



ISSUE 2: What la ctirz-ently being dona to help fight criae in the
District o£ Columbia?

The United States Park Police is actively engaged in combatting
crime and protecting visitors to the Nation's Capital. Our efforts
in fighting crime in the District are:

1. The Force's patrol branch which is the baclcbone of the
department. Besides normal foot and cruiser patrols, the
Force provides motorcycle patrols, scooter patrols and horse
mounted patrols. The Patrol Branch supplied 50 officers to
the Presidencially mandated Anti Crime and Violence Task Force
in 1994. The task force was focused at bringing down the
levels of crime and violence in the Metropolitan Police 5th
District. The task force successfully handled the assignment
as reported in the Washington Post. Additionally, President
Clinton praised the Park Police efforts in our community
oriented policing in the Meridian Hill Park Area of the
district .

2. Plainclothes officers are continuously on patrol in the
District of Columbia for the detection of crime before it
occurs and for the apprehension of criminals after a crime has
been committed.

3. The U.S. Park Police has entered into an Interagency Agreement
with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATP) . The
purpose of this agreement is to help recover and suppress
firearms and firearms tracking through a task force approach
within the District of Columbia. The mission of the task
force is to achieve maxiinum coordination in bringing to bear
the combined resources of various agencies to identify.
Investigate, and prosecute those individuals and in ongoing
criminal enterprises. In a recent case on June 8th of this
year, a U. S. Park Policemam was shot while he was assigned to
the task force with members of the Metropolitan Police.

4 . Pursuant to the provisions of an Interagency Agreement between
the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Secretary of the
Interior, the U.S. Park Police has assigned Force
investigators to the DBA Washington Field Division Task Force
to cooperate in the elimination of the illicit manufacture,
distribution, and dispensing of controlled siibstances and
their detrimental effect on the health and general welfare of
the people of the District of Columbia.

5. The U.S. Park Police Aviation Unit is routinely deployed to
assist patrol units in the prevention, detection, and
apprehension of criminals when crime has been committed in the
District of Columbia. Our helicopters have also performed
countless numbers of medevacs to MBDSTAR in the District of
Columbia and other medical emergency facilities throughout the
Washington metropolitan area. Our Aviation Unit supports the
Metropolitan Police and other law enforcement agencies, such


crime. With the court syBtem overburdened and jail space in the
District of Columbia at a premium, many car thieves are let go with
just a Blap on the wrist.

Unfortunately, many criminals apprehended as a result of police
work are set free before the arresting officer has completed hie or
har paperwork. The criminal justice system is working harder than
ever before - with more work and fewer resources. The probation
and parole systems in the District of Columbia do not serve the
needs of the community nor do they appropriately rehabilitate or
punish criminals.

All these factors impact on the quality of life in the District of
Columbia, including the National Parks smd monuments where many
tourists come to visit and enjoy.























































2 .


















































































* Denotes increaac in reported incidents

*• 1992 rclccted a smoall increase of 2.8%

Total criminal incidents handled by the U.S. Park Police in Washington, DC, from 1993 lo
1994 increased by 27% overall. Twelve out of the 20 criminal categories showed an


ISSUE 3: Wbat more cau Congress do tn assist the cfTorts of law enforceDient in the
District of Columbia?

Law enforcement agencies working in the District of Columbia must be supported by
Congrcas. Suppression of crime and the protection of our citizens and visitors to the Capital
City must be our highest priority. Effective counlermcasures to combat crime must be
implemented. These countermea.sures will invariably cost money. I uiidersund that this is
difficult to deal with during llicse limes of budget cutting aixi governmcni reduction, we need
to think hard about crime and about money. Crime affects everyone. Whenever a crime is
committed, the criminal is taking money out of everyone's pocket. The cost ot crime is
astronomical in terms of the to the victim and society in general.

Congress can assist police agencies tasked with fighting crime in the District of Columbia by
ensuring thai they are fully staffed, well trained, and well equipped. Manpower and
technology will go a long way toward making the police agencies of today more effective.
For example, some police agencies have equipped their patrol cars with mobile computers
An officer can check a vehicle license plate number or the registered owner's name while in
the patrol car. before initiating a contact. This eliminates the need to tie up scarce air traffic
time trying to communicate to a police dispatcher. Not only is this technology widely
available, but it is saving police officer's lives and increasing the number of arrests for
wanted persons. Implementing this type of technology would also allow for computer-aided
dispatching, which would greatly reduce the amount of time it takes an officer to respond to
the scene of a crime or call for help. Moreover, officers from different police agencies
patrolling in the District of Columbia could directly communicate with one another through
electronic mail. Unfortunately, this technology is available but not affordable for each

Many State and local law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of the recent crime bill
legislation axxl grant monies to fund much needed improvements. The United Sutcs Park
Police, however, is exempt from obtaining funding from the crime bill and other sources
since we arc a Federal police agency. Moreover, the United States Park Police, unlike many
other Federal law enforcement agencies, are not direcdy funded by Congress. We receive
our funding through the National Park Service. As a consequence, our funding is affected by
the budget picture of the National Park Service. Ironically, the U.S. Park Police is tasked
with a largely urban law enforcement mission similar to that of State and local government
agencies, but does not have the ability to obtain funding that is available to State and local

In closing, we recognize that these are turbulent times. One of the primary objectives of
government should be to provide service to the public. To our citizens, the police are the
most visible symbol of government. Tlierefore, it is essential that we have the support of
Congress in our fight to prevent and reduce crime. Congress could provide the funding to
make the police more effective in the way they do their jobs. Hiring more police officers is
jK)t the only solution to reducing crime in the Di.strict— giving officers the tools to do their
jobs bcner and safer is equally as imporunt. Better training and equipment for police
officers is an investment in our future and the future of our communities.


Mr. Heineman. Well, let me open up the floor to questions, Chief.

Chief Langston. Yes, sir.

Mr. Heineman. I see some of our third panel here. We're waiting
for Judge Walton. When he arrives, then I can call the panel to —
oh, he's here.

Well, I have questions for the panel.

Let me call a 10-minute recess until we vote and get back. Let
me rethink that 10-minute recess. We may have three 5-minute
votes following.

Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, could we ask questions of this wit-

Mr. Heineman. Oh, certainly. All right, I'll reopen the hearing
and recognize Mr. Coble.

Mr. Coble. I'll be very brief, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Langston, I thank you for coming here. I'll ask you the same
question you put to the chairman. Do you want us to call you Mr.
Langston or Chief?

Chief Langston. Oh, Chiefs fine. They call me a lot of

Mr. Coble. Chief wears well with the chairman as well.

I appreciate you all coming today. We had — I missed, Mr. Chair-
man, the second panel. I was here for the first panel.

I think everyone collectively would like to put a brighter face on
this Nation's Capital.

Chief Langston. Yes, sir.

Mr. Coble. It is, after all, as you point out, the birthplace of free-
dom. In fact, one of my constituents came up here about a month
ago. It was at nighttime. And he said, "What a beautiful city." He
said, "It's too bad it's so fouled up." And I think we want to — we
need to remove that stigma from this city. I think we're all march-
ing in that direction.

I guess what I'd say to you, Mr. Langston, you touched on it in
your testimony. The first panel this morning, the chief told us
that — I think he said there are 14,000 law enforcement officers
present in this area, and that, in and of itself, ought to make this
the peace haven of the universe.

I guess what I would say, Mr. Chairman, to you. Chief, any
way — anything that you all in these various agencies can do to har-
monize and work more effectively and efficiently together, along
with the Congress input, I think that's probably what we need —
for what we need to strive.

And having said that, I'll be glad to hear from you in response.

Chief Langston. I agree. We have worked together, and I think
we've worked well together, and I think if you talked to Chief
Thomas or any of the other police chiefs, I think you'll notice that
we are on every task force that we can get onto it. Unfortunately,
we're about 90 positions short right now, and that causes us to
turn into just providing basic services, and we've had to back off
of a few task forces because of that. So when you're understaffed,
it's hard to reach out and cooperate on some of these larger task
forces, but we've been doing it and we've been effective.

Mr. Coble. Thank you

Chief Langston. But I agree that cooperation is a-

Mr. Coble. Thank you again. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Mr. Hkineman. Yes, sir.

I'd like to recognize Mr. Scott.

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll yield to the lady from
Washington, DC.

Ms. Norton. Thank you. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I
know people are rushing to vote.

First, let me say the Park Police have been a wonderful partner
to the District of Columbia, absolutely wonderful. They have been
out there right in the streets the same way that our own Metropoli-
tan police have been. When your program in those two areas where
you were was cut off, it was national news. Eric Holder was on TV
saying, "Here's a program that has reduced crime dramatically in
a high crime area, and they've run out of money. It's not going to
be there tomorrow." And I take it, it's because you were reprogram-
ming money from within, and so the program was not renewed?

Chief Langston. Well, we were advised that we would be able
to reprogram money within the Department of Interior in order to
make the program happen. Unfortunately, this did not happen, and
I ended up basically cutting two recruit classes and giving up about
half a cruiser fleet in order to provide those services. It hurt us.
It hurt us bad. That's why we have close to 90 vacancies on the
job right now, was because of the assistance that we provided for

Ms. Norton. Before everyone leaves — and they've got to go vote
in a moment — I want to know, what was it that made the dif-
ference? Was it additional officers — because we're often told that at
a certain point more officers don't have an effect upon crime — or
was it something special that you brought to these communities,
the Park Police force, that wasn't there before?

Chief Langston. Oh, I think it was both. We're very involved in
the community. We have Explorer Post programs. We have — we
work in 33 schools in the DARE program. So our officers are really
tied into the various programs, but our officers are trained to deal
very effectively with the public. Because of the tourists, the inter-
national tourists, the diplomats that we have in this city, the con-
gressional staffs that we have in the city, you have to really train
officers to be more in tune to dealing with people.

The other element of success in that was that Metropolitan police
was so overwhelmed in that area that they were just going from
call to call to call, and they could not do proactive policing. Chief
Thomas asked us to go up there and do proactive policing, and
that's exactly what we did, and that's what was so successful, is
that we did not have to answer police calls; we could go out and
take care of police business.

Ms. Norton. You could deter crime, in short?

Chief Langston. We could do it; that's right.

Ms. Norton. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Hp]iNEMAN. Thank you, Ms. Norton.

Mr. Scott.

Mr. Scott. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Heineman. No questions?

Mr. Scott. Thank you very much.

Mr. Heineman. I'd like to recess for a half-hour. Chief, could you
stick around or


Chief Langston. Certainly.

Mr. Heineman [continuing]. If you have other things to do dur-
ing the rest of the day, I can understand that.

Chief Langston. I'll be here when you get back.

Mr. Heineman. Sure. Thank you very much.

Chief Langston. All right, Chief.


Mr. Heineman. I'd like to reconvene this hearing at this time
and welcome our third panel to sit at the table.

Our third panel consists of Mr. Harold Brazil, councilmember;
Mr. Kevin Chavous, likewise, and Mr. Reggie Walton, an associate
judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Our first witness is Harold Brazil, councilmember of Ward 6 of
the Council of the District of Columbia. Ward 6 includes two his-
toric districts: Capitol Hill and old Anacostia. It also includes
Union Station, Judiciary Square, and the Stadium-Armory area.

Among Councilmember Brazil's accomplishments, he has au-
thored the Life Sentence Without Parole Act, the Anti-Car Jacking
Act, and the Misdemeanor Streamlining Act — all of which are now
law. He has also introduced a juvenile curfew bill and is finding to
put more cops on the beat.

Councilmember Brazil earned his masters of law degree at the
Georgetown University Law Center and his jurisdoctor from Ohio
State. He's a member of the H Street and the Anacostia Commu-
nity Development Associations, as well as the Capitol Hill Associa-
tion of Merchants and Professionals.

Our next witness is Councilmember Kevin Chavous.
Councilmember Chavous is the Ward 7 representative on the Coun-
cil of the District of Columbia. He is currently chairman of the
Committee on Labor and Human Rights and serves on the Commit-
tees on Housing and Urban Affairs, Public Works, and the Environ-
ment, and Judiciary.

Councilmember Chavous authored the Abatement of Controlled
Dangerous Substances Nuisance Act, which empowers community
groups to bring civil action to force the closing of crack houses. He
is the chairman of the D.C. Statehood Compact Commission, a
member of the National Board of Directors for Handgun Control,
and a member of Directors of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washing-

Councilmember Chavous earned his undergraduate degree in po-
litical science from Walbash College in Crawfordville, IN, and is a
graduate of the Howard University School of Law.

Our third witness is Reggie Walton, associate judge of the Supe-
rior Court of the District of Columbia. Judge Walton was originally
appointed to the bench in 1981, but joined the Bush administration
in 1989, serving as Senior White House Advisor for Crime and
later as the Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Con-
trol Policy. From 1986 until leaving the superior court in 1989,
Judge Walton served as the court's deputy presiding judge of the
Criminal Division. Judge Walton previously served as an Assistant
U.S. attorney and the executive assistant, U.S. attorney, in the
Washington, DC, office.


Judge Walton was graduated from West Virginia State College in
1971 and received his law degree from the American University
Washington College of Law in 1974.

I don't see Judge Walton here. Oh, I'm sorry, Judge.

Mr. Brazil.

Mr. Chavous. He's not here.

Mr. Hkinkman. ok. OK. OK, I have — I'd like to recess this at
this time for a vote I have in the Banking Committee. It should
be — it should be within 5 or 10 minutes. Again, I apologize for this
delay. I don't have another councilman here that can take the
chair. Unfortunately, I'm prevented from turning over to a member
of the minority party. So I will just recess at this time.

Ms. Norton. Mr. Chairman, you may want to let the Park Police
chief go. He waited

Mr. Hkineman. I know and he has been very patient, and I just
wanted to have him hear from the members of the council their
perception of the problem, so when I do talk to him, he'll have a
better understanding of perhaps where he could fit in to again join
the team and help us police this city. But I thank you very much.


Mr. Hp]lNEMAN. I'd like to reconvene this hearing and say that
this is hell day for Congressmen, what with the votes on the floor,
votes in committee markup. I know it's verv disturbing to you; it
would be to me. And so as to keep some kina of a continuum going,
I would like to turn the chair over to Congressman Tom Davis,
and, of course, I will come up after my next vote, which will be
shortly, and then relieve him. So, if you don't mind us playing mu-
sical chairs, we do want to get your remarks in the record. I do
want the Chief of the Park Service to hear what you have to say,
and, hopefully, get in the flow of things.

Thank you.

Mr. Davis [presiding]. Well, we'll go right to the statements,
right to the testimony. And what's the proper protocol here? With
a judge and two councilmen, I don't know if I want to choose on
that. Judge, why don't you go first? Judge, you go first. These other
two guys are lawyers; they would not let me do it any other way.


Judge Walton. Thank you. I would defer to them, but if they in-
sist, I'll

Mr. Davis. Go right ahead. You're the judge. You're the judge
after we leave here today. [Laughter.]

Judge Walton. Well, I'd like to thank the subcommittee for hold-
ing these hearings. I did prepare a written statement. I'd ask that
it be admitted into the record, and I'll just make some comments
in reference to my individual perspectives, as someone who has
been involved in the criminal justice process in the D.C. — in the
District of Columbia for almost 20 years.

I am here today because I have a great love and affection for this
city, and I have over my lifetime being in this city experienced a
number of tragic events as far as crime is concerned, and, obvi-
ously, I have a lot of concern about doing something to impact on


the problem of public safety in this city. I have been now on the
bench for about 11 years in total. I, before that, was a prosecutor
in the U.S. attorney's office, and, therefore, I've been involved in

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JCombating crime in the District of Columbia : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, June 22, 1995 → online text (page 13 of 18)