Effective Law Enforcement Starts with Leadership

Article excerpt

We are writing to express our concern about recent Washington Times pieces concerning the effectiveness of the Defense Protective Service (DPS) and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) ("Pentagon audit hits `cronyism' of its cops," July 9, and "Where are all the cops?" Editorial, July 12). Both the article and the editorial reflect the need for effective leadership and management of the law enforcement agencies in and around our nation's capital.

Law enforcement administrators must demonstrate concern for the safety of the communities they serve and the staffing and training of the officers under their command and must set a course for their agencies to follow. As made abundantly clear by a recent report of the Department of Defense inspector general, the Defense Protective Service is suffering severely from a lack of leadership.

The problems cited by the inspector general - from the lack of in-service training available to officers to the handling of criminal investigations - highlight the impact lax management has on the efficiency of any law enforcement agency. We believe the conduct of DPS officials, is not only unfortunate, but reprehensible and inexcusable.

The situation confronting the MPD, though not as serious as the one facing DPS, is no less a cause of concern for the city's residents and elected officials. Several months ago, our organization said Chief Charles H. Ramsey must be given the opportunity to lead and a chance to correct some of the mistakes of his predecessors. However, the time has come to expect results. Although crime generally is on the decline in Washington, the recent tragic deaths of innocent civilians have highlighted the need for enhanced police services in the city's most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

Perhaps the easiest way to deter crime in the District is to increase the number and visibility of police officers walking the beat. It always costs less to hire another police officer today than to pay for the death of an innocent person tomorrow. …