The Week Ahead…. A Capitol Hill Safety Walk and Community Crime Meeting
City Officials and MPD Scramble After Dropping Ball on Hill East Crime Meeting
by Larry Janezich
Despite the recent increase in violent crime which has alarmed Capitol Hill residents and heightened awareness of the need for a greater commitment to community policing, MPD and city officials fumbled badly in a recent effort to connect with the Hill East community on the issue.
As late as July 27, city officials were reminding Hill East residents of an August 6 PSA 108 community crime meeting at Liberty Baptist Church. In the same email, residents were urged to participate in an August 11 community safety walk with MPD and city officials. ANC6B Commissioner Brian Flahaven had requested MPD to schedule the community crime meeting.
Then, with no notice, the community crime meeting was cancelled. The first word of the cancellation came from city officials who posted to Capitol Hill listservs on August 6 – the day of the meeting:
“There seems to be some confusion. There is no PSA 108 meeting tonight. Commander Brown [First District] is posting to the 1st District Group….Lt. Dykes and his team will be at the Hill East Community Walk on Tuesday August 11th and can answer any questions at that event. We will meet at Eastern High School at 5:30pm and walk through the neighborhood to Potomac Metro… In addition to MPD, other Gov’t officials will be present from Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, Dept of Human Services, Dept of Behavioral Health to answer questions.”
Apparently, MPD decided that the community safety walk would take the place of the community crime meeting but failed to tell anyone. Flahaven let it be known that he was unhappy both because of the lack of notice and the awkwardness of a community walk as a venue for questions and answers.
By August 9th city officials and MPD had reconsidered and decided to hold the PSA 108 community crime meeting after all; that meeting will occur at 7:00pm at Liberty Baptist Church immediately following the walk.
The Tuesday, August 11 safety walk through the neighborhood with MPD, the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, local ANC commissioners and Hill East residents will begin at 5:30 pm at Eastern High School (1700 East Capitol Street SE) and proceed south through Hill East, ending around 7 pm at Liberty Baptist Church (527 Kentucky Ave SE). In addition to the Mayor’s Office and MPD, representatives from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, Department of Human Services and Department of Behavioral Health will be in attendance.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported an event last Thursday afternoon as follows: Man arrested after witnesses report armed standoff outside [Potomac Avenue] Metro station http://wapo.st/1Uy6Zvp