National Police Week is a time for law enforcement officers from around the country to come to Washington and honor those who have died in the line of duty, but it's also a time that D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has to warn visiting officers against rowdy and illegal behavior.
Thousands of law enforcement officers, their families and supporters are in town for the solemn and respectful observance, but each year the week is marred by some officers who illegally park and engage in public activities that an ordinary citizen might be arrested or ticketed for doing, like blocking rush hour lanes.
A citizen who lives downtown sent News4 pictures of what he said were out of town officers drinking on public sidewalks near Fifth and H streets in Northwest.
“We would hope that there would be no drinking, no public drinking, that, frankly, that the officers would comport themselves in a way that we would expect the citizens to,” Mayor Vincent Gray said. “These are law enforcement officials.”
Some past years have been so rowdy that Chief Lanier sends an annual, stern letter in advance to other police departments.
"The unacceptable behavior of some participants in activities associated with National Police Week can have negative consequences on our city and reflects poorly on the policing profession as a whole," it says.
It warns specifically against illegal parking and public drunkenness among other activities.
Organizers of Police Week this year moved an outdoor tent city from downtown to an isolated area of near Southwest close to the baseball stadium, which allows officers and various vendors to informally gather together without detracting from the main purpose of being in the Nation's Capital.