Over 1K D.C. Officers Vote ‘No Confidence' in Lanier

More than 1,000 police officers in D.C. say they have "no confidence" in Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

The D.C. Police Union released the result of the weekend vote Monday morning.

Of the 1,150 officers responding to the online survey, 97.5 percent said they have "no confidence" in Lanier's ability to manage the Metropolitan Police Department and keep the public safe. The union represents more than 3,600 officers. 

"We‘ve been told that the status quo is working and we‘ve been forced into a corner of lackluster, feckless, inefficient enforcement," the union said in a press release issued Monday morning. 

The union says the "no-confidence" vote is a symbolic gesture. 

"I am not interested in responding to or commenting on the anonymous online survey conducted by the Fraternal Order of Police, but I will defend the work of the members of this agency," Lanier said in a statement Monday.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released a statement Monday, expressing her confidence in Lanier.

"After 25 years of policing DC streets, deploying officers and strategies, and building a force of highly qualified officers and leaders, in the good times and the tough times, too, I have every confidence in Chief Lanier,” Bowser said. 

Both dismissed the survey, noting fewer than a third of the of the officers participated.

The union vote follows a recent spike in crime, particularly homicides. The D.C. homicide rate is up 43 percent in 2015 thus far, compared with the same period in 2014. To date, 105 people have been killed. D.C. police made 61 murder arrests so far this year while closing 44 of this year's 105 murder cases, police said.

The vote also follows the latest "All Hands On Deck" initiative, which aimed to limit a recent spike in crime by flooding the streets of D.C. with officers. Extra officers were deployed in cruisers, on bikes and on foot in all seven police districts from 3 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Sunday.

Despite 16 violent assaults and two homicides, D.C. officials called the initiative a success.

"According to our morning report today, MPD took 34 illegal guns off the streets of Washington, D.C., this weekend alone and reduced violent crime by 39 percent compared to the same weekend last year," Lanier said.

Property crime was down 52 percent and overall crime was down 49 percent compared to the same weekend last year, police said.

Lanier said the initiative may have influenced the vote with so many officers called in.

"I realize that officers don’t like their schedules disrupted and I try to minimize it, but when we have violent crime we have to make the sacrifices that we all swore we would make when we took this job," Lanier said in a statement released Sunday.

All Metropolitan Police Department officers were pulled from vacation, desk duty and other details Friday through Sunday for an "All Hands on Deck" response to crime.

Mayor Bowser's strategy to prevent crime also includes putting more services like job training and daycare in neighborhoods hit hardest.

"Starting next week, the city will be reopening part of Malcolm X Elementary School in Ward 8 to bring government services to the community," said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue, who promised more of these pop-up resource centers in neighborhoods most affected by the increase in violence.

Lanier started the All Hands on Deck initiative in 2007 in response to a summertime spike in crime, the department's website says. MPD has declared more than 30 All Hands on Deck periods of about 48 hours each since then, with an average decline in violent crime of about 10 percent during each period, Lanier said.

Lanier and the union have become increasingly at odds over a solution for the recent spike in crime. Rank-and-file officers are questioning the dismantling of vice units and taking issue with fixed posts that prevent officers from leaving designated areas.

"Over the past eight years we've had some very high-profile incidents where the chief's integrity has been called into question," union head Delroy Burton told WAMU. "The most frustrating thing right now for our members, though, is that we have an uptick in crime and they're being deployed in such a way that makes it extremely difficult for them to provide good police service."

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