This letter is in response to the article “Rough Justice” (1/7), which we read with great interest. The Sixth District Citizens Advisory Council does not condone police brutality. We are, however, adamantly opposed to the increase in use, sale, and distribution of drugs within our community. We as citizens see the need for prevention through improved and better educational opportunities, job training, socialization experiences, recreation, and higher expectations on the part of the individuals whose interview responses were reported in this article. When there is improvement in the economic status of families east of the Anacostia River—other than through drug money—we believe that the community and the city will be better off.
The police department has a difficult task because of the escalation of use and sale of illegal drugs throughout the District of Columbia, especially east of the river. We acknowledge the frustration that exists when persons are arrested one day and released by the judicial system the next day.
These acknowledgments indicate some specific needs of the 6th District:
1. A full complement of officers for the 6th District. For example, if the 6th District is entitled to 1,000 officers, then 1,000 officers should be assigned.
2. Up-to-date resources (equipment, cars, vests, technology).
3. Suspension of the practice of assigning officers to other details throughout the city, without replacements, leaving the 6th District short-staffed.
4. Improvement of training, not only in the technical use of weapons, but also in communication skills and human relations.
5. Training of officers to improve their record-keeping process.
6. A better system to monitor and investigate (and substantiate or negate) complaints made against officers.
There now appears to be a full complement of captains and lieutenants within the 6th District. We therefore are hopeful that these recommendations will be implemented.
6th District Citizens Advisory Council