WASHINGTON — A new report from Metro's Office of the Inspector General shows major failings by WMATA Transit Police.
The report states that police cannot prove whether they investigated thousands of victim complaints over the last several years. According to the report, the complaints include robbery, sexual offenses, kidnapping and other major crimes.
Metro Transit Police could only provide, "minimal documentation" for about half of the more than 3,000 complaints between 2010 to 2017. OIG said its analysis showed that 84% of the agency's investigative files lacked any documentation of investigative activity at all.
The report goes on to say transit police’s failure to maintain these investigative files could impact justice for victims. Investigators write there is no assurance the people who perpetrated these crimes were apprehended, and if they were, these findings could impact past prosecutions and appeals.
Transit Police were not fully cooperative nor helpful with the investigation, according to the report.
WMATA officials released a statement stating that since 2017, Metro Transit Police have implemented several new initiatives for the criminal investigation division, including requiring an automated record-keeping system and even changing some leadership positions.
Read the full statement below:
"Since 2017, Metro Transit Police has implemented a number of initiatives for the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), including adopting new policies and procedures, mandating the use of an automated record-keeping system, and creating a new case management process, in addition to changing leadership. Today, cases are investigated by detectives in accordance with standard operating procedures that are similar to those used by peers in surrounding jurisdictions. Additionally, Metro Transit Police management conducts reviews of all CID cases on a regular, recurring basis. Metro Transit Police has and continues to follow up on the cases noted in the report."
Congressman Gerry Connolly, Chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee, also released the following statement in response to the OIG's findings:
“These are shocking findings by the WMATA IG that undermine faith in the Metro Transit Police Department to respond to credible rider complaints about criminal and unsafe behavior. The safety of riders is paramount, and the MTPD is either seized by that mission or they are not. Despite the attempted whitewashing of the WMATA IG’s findings, I would note that the MTPD does acknowledge that it has yet to complete its long-running internal audit of these undocumented and open cases. I welcome the commitment by the MTPD to finally complete its report on the matter and urge them to act with the utmost urgency to follow through on potentially unaddressed complaints.
“Despite my initial concerns that this report was being improperly withheld, I am glad this report is now seeing the light of day and that the WMATA IG and the WMATA Board have enabled its release. Our bill, the Metro Accountability and Investment Act, would condition annual federal contributions to WMATA on the WMATA Board ensuring public disclosure of all IG recommendations like the important ones in this report. I am fully committed the highest level of transparency, especially where it concerns rider safety.”