For ages, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers have been tripping over cops from the 31 federal law enforcement agencies in town. To resolve the confusion, the U.S. Congress passed the District of Columbia Police Coordination Act of 1997, which was signed into law by President Clinton last August. The bill called on federal agencies to sign agreements with MPD regarding officer deployment, equipment sharing, and arrest procedures. A year later, not one federal agency has entered into such an agreement, according to D.C. Fraternal Order of Police President Lou Cannon. “Within a year, you’d think we’d have a couple MOUs [memoranda of understanding] done, wouldn’t you?” Cannon asks. So why haven’t federal agencies hooked up with D.C.’s finest? Channing Phillips, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, says there’s a good reason: The agreements don’t mean anything until the D.C. Council passes sister legislation that will shield federal law enforcement agencies from civil liability.
If things get messy for a Park Police officer who intervenes off federal turf in Shepherd Park, for example, the feds don’t want
Too Much Flack After serving four years as the bearer of bad news on delayed school openings and plummeting test scores, Beverly Lofton, acting director of communications for the D.C. Public Schools (DCPS), has announced her own graduation. She will exit the schoolhouse doors to work as a flack for the Anthony Williams mayoral campaign. “I think it’s time to move on to new things,” notes Lofton. DCPS sources close to Lofton say the communications director got frustrated with the lack of communication between school officials and the community. DCPS superintendent Arlene Ackerman and former superintendent Gen. Julius Becton largely kept Lofton out of the loop, say officials familiar with her position. Therefore, she was often asked to defend DCPS policies and procedures to parents that higher-ups had failed to explaineven to her. Ackerman was unavailable for comment.
Ghost in the Machine Another candidate has jumped into the mayoral election fray. She’s a Democrat, a former DCPS teacher, and a member of the National Council of Negro Women. She’s pro-statehood and pro-choice; her campaign slogan states that she’s “a mother for our children; an advocate for us all.” Haven’t seen her signs around town? That’s because the grass-roots candidate exists only in the notebooks of this year’s Ronald H. Brown fellows, a group of 16 college students who came up with the candidate’s campaign strategy as part of their final fellowship project. “She is different than the others, the stuffed shirts who are already in city government,” says Joshua Rosenstein, a Brown fellow. “They had a chance, and they ignored the community’s problems.” Randy Strong, a campaign strategist for Republican mayoral contender Carol Schwartz, says the students were a little naive in their campaign themes. “They used a white model for a predominantly black city,” says Strong. “It’s like trying to make a right shoe fit on a left foot.”
Pizza Cutter Jimmy Bell stood outside his house on the unit block of Q Street SW on July 12 at 1:45 a.m., waiting for a pizza delivery that he says was already 55 minutes late. Domino’s Pizza considers Bell’s Southwest neighborhood unsafe, so the company insists that customers in the area wait on the street corner for their pies. When Bell called the South Capitol Domino’s and asked if he could get a free Coke to make up for the delay, the pizza dispatcher became enraged. Bell charges that the dispatcher told him, “Ain’t nothing free, motherfucker,” and after a string of cursing, added, “You can call motherfucking Pizza Hut.” Domino’s delivered 15 minutes later, and along with the pizza came a special treat. “I heard a click and I saw a flash,” says Wesley Bell, Jimmy’s brother, who witnessed the events from inside their house. “The Domino’s Pizza man got out of the car with a knife.” According to the Bells, the deliverer threatened to kill Jimmy, but drove off when he went inside to call the police. The delivery man was arrested the next week, but the U.S. Attorney declined to prosecute the case. Domino’s has no comment on the incident.
Reporting by Paula Park, Frappa Stout, Jake Tapper, and Eve Tushnet.
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