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This is just a note based on a friend’s experience that indicates Chief Soulsby may be on the right track in retraining the D.C. police. As this may be a slow week, I thought it may be of interest.

A couple of weeks ago my friend and his wife were awakened by the sound of their car cranking up; they looked out the window in time to see it drive away. While his wife called 911, my friend set out in hot pursuit. For a while he and a couple of D.C. police cars cruised around, but to no avail.

Concerned about his car, my friend called the 3rd District every few days to see if it was found. One day he hits pay dirt: A car that might be his has been towed to the impound lot on 9th Street NW. The desk officer tells him he can check it out but has to come to the 3rd District to get a pass for the lot. He drives up to the 3rd District and, much to his surprise, he sees his car parked illegally in front of the police station. The Department of Public Works had found it first because it had a handful of tickets on the windshield. It had also been broken into (as an aside, the thief or thieves had used a key from the same make of car to gain entry and drive it away).

My friend goes into the police station and tells the desk officer that he sees they have his car out front. They tell him he is mistaken, as his car is in the impound lot. After several minutes of arguing, they agree to go outside, look at the car, and concede it could be his.

Now that he has the car back, his interest shifts to real-world concerns: the tickets (which have been written every day since the day the car was stolen).

Having had experience with Traffic Adjudication before, he asks for a copy of the police report to document that his car was stolen. After an extensive search, they found that there was no report filed on the theft.

Now he has a car with a window broken, seven or eight tickets, and no way to show either an insurance company or the traffic bureau that the car was stolen. More negotiation ensues, this time to get the police to admit a theft had taken place. Finally, they send an officer out to his house to take a report a couple of weeks after the car was stolen.