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The Metropolitan Police Department commander in charge of the Second District, which includes many of the District’s ritzy Northwest neighborhoods, has been removed from his post. Matthew Klein had run things at the politically tricky police station since 2008, and has been a D.C. cop since 1989. Now he seems to be in bit of trouble.
The shake-up could be because of a recent spike in burglaries in the police district, but the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) thinks Klein is leaving because of something else: He played a role in bringing an MPD cheating scandal to light. “Widespread information through the department was that Commander Kline was one of those who exposed the cheating,” says FOP boss Kris Baumann.
In November, Assistant Chief Diane Groomes was accused of spoiling the results of an intelligence-led policing exam, by sending the answers to police officials who hadn’t taken it yet. Groomes, who is popular with community activists, was suspended and then investigated. But she was eventually exonerated by Police Chief Cathy Lanier,who explained that the test was “open-book.” MPD still required its cop leaders to retake the test, and instituted a new integrity policy that explicitly forbid them from sharing answers.
That would seem to indicate some mistakes were made, but the only shift in leadership that’s taken place in the wake of the debacle is the one that has made Klein a director of the Court Liaison Division, a captain’s position.
In an e-mail announcing the move, Klein evoked an explanation often used when a loss of position is due to internal politics: “I have enjoyed serving as your commander over the last two years; however, taking on this new position will enable me to spend much needed time with my family.” Neither Klein nor Lanier responded to requests for comment. MPD spokesperson Gwen Crump merely referred us to Klein’s e-mail.
“This will have a chilling effect on anybody in the organization, regardless of rank, that wants to bring wrongdoing to our attention,” says Baumann.