Audit Reveals Health, Safety Concerns in DC Police Stations

A government audit revealed a series of health and safety concerns inside some D.C. police stations.

The audit found water leaks, unsecured gates or windows, potentially dangerous electrical wiring, and clutter inside multiple Metropolitan Police Department stations. Three of the agency’s stations were inaccessible to people with disabilities.

clutter - mpd
Office of the Inspector General

D.C.’s Office of Inspector General said its findings show the well-being of police officers might be at risk. “Building conditions at several MPD stations and substations may pose threats to the safety and security of MPD employees and equipment and may adversely affect the health and comfort of MPD employees,” the audit said.

The report showed more than a dozen photographs showing disrepair inside the police stations. In several instances, leaks and water damage were evident, including sandbagging placed at the 1st District substation near the U.S. Capitol.

sandbags - mpd
Office of the Inspector General

At the 2nd District Station on Idaho Avenue NW, the inspector general’s office said it found potentially unsafe wiring and a window that failed to lock. The photos included with the audit show each of the potential problems.

wiring - mpd
Office of the Inspector General

Cluttered conditions are shown in some hallways at other stations.

At the police department’s 4th District Station on Georgia Avenue NW, the auditor reported finding bird’s nests, leaking toilets and an employee work space located in a storage closet. “(The desk) did not appear to be a suitable work space,” the audit said.

At the 3rd District Station, the auditors said they found holes and cracks in holding cells and windows that failed to fully latch.

In three instances, the auditors found police stations without access for people with disabilities, including the 1st District substation in southeast D.C. “Individuals with disabilities (employees and visitors) are unable to access MPD substations, and the District of Columbia may be at risk of legal liability for failure to ensure ADA-compliance with respect to providing services for the public,” the audit said.

The Metropolitan Police Department did not respond to requests for comment from News4 Wednesday. In a statement provided to the Office of Inspector General, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, “MPD will review its internal controls to address policy matters raised in the report, such as surplus items stored in hallways.” Lanier said, in her statement to the Office of Inspector General, the facilities and maintenance are the responsibility of D.C.’s Department of General Services.

A spokesman for the Department of General Services said his agency reviewed the report. “The Department of General Services will provide a summary report of its findings, along with a time frame for completing each outstanding item determined by the agency that requires a resolution,” he said. “DGS will provide that summary report to the OIG as its response in a few weeks.”

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