The Metropolitan Police Department has been conducting an internal investigation into its members providing police escorts for celebrities like Charlie Sheen. Now, there’s a shakeup in the police division that provided the escorts.
The motorcades violated official policy. In May, Chief Cathy Lanier told WTOP that Sheen’s escort was approved by a “middle manager” in the department. “I believe I know who gave the authorization, it was a middle manager, at the lieutenant rank,” she said.
A June 5 internal document obtained by City Desk shows that the Special Operations Division is losing three mid-ranking officers—two lieutenants and a captain. The officials have been transferred to Patrol Services, the document shows. Two of the transferred were connected to the planning unit of the SOD, and would have helped arrange Sheen’s escort.
One of the transferred SOD officers tells City Desk he wasn’t advised about “the outcome of the investigation” into Sheen’s ride; he was simply told he needed to leave his post. “There’s very little I can do,” he says. The officer asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
The MPD document announces 13 transfers. Six of the transfers had to do with SOD; three were transferred out and three in.
Asked if the transfers were related to the investigation into celebrity escorts, MPD spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump says she’s not sure. “There were more than 20 names on the personnel teletype on Friday,” Crump says. “I don’t know the details of why they were moved.”
Lanier didn’t answer inquiries about the transfers. Councilmember Phil Mendelson, who chairs the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, didn’t know about the transfers. Mendelson will be conducting a hearing on police escorts on June 23.
But police union leader Kris Baumann says the celebrity escorts have been going on for years with the full approval of the command structure and are only being investigated now because the media learned of the practice. Baumann says a management position at SOD is a “sought after position” and that transferring the officers to Patrol Services is a punishment. “This is them [MPD command] once again acting before the investigation is released,” says Baumann.
Update: Lanier denies the transfers had anything to do with Sheen. “None of the transfers were disciplinary,” she tells the Washington Post. The changes, she says, were made “for the efficiency of the department.”
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