Elected leaders in SE DC says mayor may be part of crime problem

Five shootings in just two days in Southeast, D.C. and now an outspoken elected leader is calling out the mayor.

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) - There are plenty of uniformed officers in Southeast, D.C. when there's a shooting, but 8B ANC Commissioner Paul Trantham believes the police department needs to go back to what worked – plain clothes officers.

“Just because it was bad then, does that mean it's going to be bad now," questioned Trantham.  

In 2015, DC police disbanded it's plain clothes Vice Squad known on the street as "jump-out squads" over concerns of racial profiling. 

Trantham says people don’t respect the uniform and suggests to re-train the officers and return the plain clothes unit to the streets to combat the sex trafficking, drugs, and gun violence he said is rampant in parts of Wards 7 and 8.  

RELATED: Crime is up in DC neighborhood, residents want help

“People say the Mayor has the Police Chief’s hands tied and I believe that,” said Trantham. “I think Chief Newsham would do much more if he could. So mayor step aside and let Chief Newsham run this city. This is election season, so mayor if you’re not going to hear this then maybe you shouldn’t rerun for mayor.”  

The Mayor flat out denies getting in the way. 

Mayoral spokesperson Latoya Foster released this statement: 

"Nothing can be further from the truth. Mayor Bowser has fought for more officers by expanding the senior police officer program and the cadet program and increasing incentives to attract new recruits. She has also implemented one of the most comprehensive body worn camera programs in the country to build trust between police and residents. The mayor is committed to creating a safer, stronger D.C."

Native Washingtonian and five-year SE resident Adriana Lynch says there is not trust because there is no relationship between police and residents.

“The only time I see police around here is when something has gone wrong.  It’s summer time people are out and about," said Lynch. "There are plenty of opportunities for police to engage with the community and I haven’t seen it.”

A spokesperson for MPD would not go into detail about police tactics and strategy, but Margarita Mikhaylova sent the following statement:

"Our crime fighting tactics focus strongly on community engagement.  Anything from our Summer Crime Initiatives (which as you know from prior years is an extremely valuable initiative), to Youth Creating Change, various mentorship programs, social gatherings and connecting with community members as much as possible.  Here is a plethora of information:  As always, we urge anyone and everyone with even a tiny piece of information to contact MPD. Please remind your viewers that tips can be completely anonymous, and you can either call 202-727-9099 or text 50411. The best way that the community can help MPD is 'if you see something, say something.' Crime Solvers also offers monetary rewards to anyone who provides information leading to arrest and indictment.”

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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