D.C. Police Back Off Expansion Plan

Council calls for study on how many officers city really needs

Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010  |  Updated 2:31 PM EDT
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D.C. Police Back Off Expansion Plan

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As D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty looks on, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier speaks during a press conference after the Supreme Court's decision to reverse the city's long-standing handgun ban.

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The Metropolitan Police Department is dropping long-held plans to expand the force to 4,200 officers.

Chief Cathy Lanier told a D.C. Council panel Friday that there are 4,017 officers on the force and the number will remain in that vicinity as long as the city’s economy continues to struggle, the Washington Examiner reported.
 
Lanier said new hires would be made only to fill losses from attrition and she has reformulated the force based on a smaller number of recruits. She said she has "significantly downsized the size of the recruiting branch" and "reduced the academy staff almost by half and put them back on patrol." Also, about 40 officers have applied for early retirement, which will allow the department to replace higher-salaried officers with lower-paid recruits, the Examiner reported.
 
MPD has never studied how many officers are needed to properly police the city, and should do so, noted Phil Mendelson, chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. He pointed out that the department is backed by a number of federal police agencies that serve the city, such as the U.S. Capitol Police.

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