First of all, let me say that I see firsthand the effects of the whole police redeployment plan (“Hit Redeploy,” 9/1). I have been with the Metropolitan Police Department for 10 years, and to see homicide detectives and other members of the force with positions that require them to be in plain clothes for the majority of their time walking on foot in high-crime areas has to make one wonder: Is the officers’ safety a concern here? I do realize that Chief Charles Ramsey has a responsibility to do something, but there are lots of officers who are on the streets now who have not been on the streets in years. Some of them are what is commonly referred to as SLAPs: sorry, lazy-ass police. These are officers who do not want to work the streets for various lame reasons, yet they took the oath to be policebut after a year or two, they work their way to administrative positions and never return to the streets to patrol. There are some officers in these positions for medical reasons, but not many; most are there because they are scared or too lazy to be in a position where they might have to say more than “Officer Slap speaking. How may I help you?”
The chief said at some point that he would get rid of the SLAPs, but it is easier said than done. You see, these SLAPs I speak of are smarter than you think, and they know, in order to get rid of them and put them back on the streets, there will have to be a mass hiring of others, who will have to be trained to do the job. That takes time and money, so until that day, the SLAPs will continue to have these administrative jobs where the only worry is about which carryout to order from. Some members who have put in sufficient timewell, I think they deserve a position like that, but explain to me how an officer with less than three years’ experience is assigned to the station. That’s just the beginning, because this same officer will study for the sergeant’s test and pass it and will be a supervisor with no time on the streets. It is like having a football coach who never played footballdoes that make sense?
Chief Ramsey is doing whatever he thinks will slow the killing, but it is deeper than the police. You may go to the scene of a shooting and people are so numb to the murders that they are joking and laughing as the yellow tape is being put up to protect the scene; some officers see so much of this that they began to have a “Who cares?” attitude. There are people who know who committed murders but will not come forward and say anything to the police; that is also frustrating. I believe these violent crimes are a social problem that will take everyone doing his or her part, including raising children instead of allowing the television to do it. I have also seen a carefree attitude among some of my own co-workers because they don’t live in the citywhich is wrong, in my eyes. I hope the chief will implement a program in all of the schools where officers can go out and talk to the young people on their level and stop talking down to them as if they were above them, because at some point, we all were young.