Federal Authorities to Lend Manpower, Technical Assistance to D.C. Police
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal agents will assist local police in fighting violent and drug- related crime in the nation’s capital, federal officials said Thursday.
The FBI, U.S. Capitol Police, Park Police, the uniformed division of the Secret Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency will be deployed in Washington neighborhoods to supplement District of Columbia police resources. Their aim is to help prevent and solve violent and drug-related crimes, including the 87 reported homicides this year.
Secondary support will be provided by the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Protective Service, the Customs Agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Defense Department.
Kevin Ohlson, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined to elaborate on the role of each agency. But many will have arrest authority and other local police authority, other officials said.
The proposal for increased federal assistance was made in November by Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly after President Clinton refused her request for D.C. National Guard troops to supplement the city’s 4,213 police officers.
Under the program, to be unveiled Friday by U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, the federal agencies will target specific police districts where their assistance and expertise is specially suited.
For example, Capitol Police will provide second response and canine assistance in the area surrounding the federal enclave and Capitol Hill.
″Two months ago, we started doing prisoner transports in the first district,″ said Capitol Police spokesman Sgt. Dan Nichols. ″We have also installed some Metropolitan Police radios in our cars ... Also, we have been given the same authority as MPD to handle crimes of violence throughout the city.″
Increased assistance in the 2nd district, which includes most of Washington’s embassies and Georgetown, will be provided by the uniformed division of the Secret Service.
″Our officers are very familiar with those areas and can allow District police to better utilize their manpower in places where it’s more needed,″ said Lt. Curtis Elderidge.
U.S. Park Police will add patrol units in the 5th police district, an area that experienced the greatest increase in homicides last year. It borders suburban Maryland and has highways used by suspected drug couriers, police said. ″We have always served as second response units to D.C. Police throughout the city,″ said Park Police spokesman Maj. Robert Hines. ″We have police powers throughout the city.″
The FBI has aided District authorities since October 1991, said spokesman Frank Scafidi. Six squads assist D.C. Police in specifically targeted high- crime areas, Scafidi added.
″We help D.C. Police in several areas - be it drug gangs, old homicide cases or carjackings,″ Scafidi said. ″We are also assisting MPD in its police training program down at (the Marine base in) Quantico (Va.).