DC Police Chief Fed Up With Criminal Revolving Door, Lack Of Action

REUTERS/Larry Downing

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Outgoing Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier shredded the District’s criminal justice system, and the revolving door for criminal offenders.

Lanier leaves in two weeks for a position with the NFL. Many city officials praised her for a drop in crime and for a better relationship between local neighborhoods and the police. Lanier said she is frustrated with what many see as a revolving door for offenders, which puts violent criminals back on the streets. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is dealing with a massive spike in homicides in the last two years, and Lanier said the convoluted justice system does not help the situation, reports The Washington Post.

Police arrested a man under house arrest last week who went on a crime spree after his GPS tracking device stopped working. Despite losing the signal, officials did nothing to alert the proper authorities. (RELATED: DC Police Chief Wasn’t So Popular Within Her Own Department)

“The agency that supervises that person didn’t tell anybody or do anything with it,” Lanier told The Washington Post. “That shouldn’t happen. And it’s happening over and over and over again. Where the hell is the outrage?”

The homicide rate in the District spiked 54 percent in 2015, and is only 13 percent lower so far this year. Homicides have tripled this year in Ward 7. D.C. is suffering a violent year overall, with 94 homicides across the city. The alarming surge in homicides is down from the shocking numbers in 2015, but is still historically high. There were a total of 105 homicides in 2014 and 88 in 2012.

“The criminal justice system in this city is broken,” Lanier said. “You can’t police the city if the rest of the justice system is not accountable.”

Council member Kenyan McDuffie, who oversees the MPD on the Council, said he disagrees with Lanier’s assessment. McDuffie proposed legislation to pay criminals not to commit crimes in May that Lanier and Mayor Muriel Bowser opposed, and the bill ultimately failed.

The mayor and Lanier never voiced support for the contentious proposal, arguing the District needs to focus resources on job training and stiffer penalties for crimes as a deterrent. The Council previously rejected criminal reform efforts backed by Bowser and Lanier, including a bill that would have increased criminal sentences for crimes committed on city transit.

“Sometimes, we just scratch our heads,” Lanier told The Washington Post in May. “We feel like there’s a revolving door for violent offenders. It’s very frustrating for us because we see the victim, and we see the impact on the victim.”

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