Friday, January 12, 2007

Ever wonder why you can't find a cop when you need one?

I think I may have a partial answer. Obviously a minor traffic accident brings out the force in full but we've already covered that. I found out the answer at least for the Metro Transit Police this morning. At 8:30 am if you were at the Georgia Ave.-Petworth metro station then you know the answer too. Well, when I went to the metro this morning still smarting from my bad parking spot I noticed a metro cop and his dog. Ok, nothing unusual there but then I noticed another and another. Fortunately I was not armed so I had nothing to fear. But I did find it unusual. So, thinking this might be of interest to you all I inquired with the cop with the coolest hat if they were doing an exercise or something. His reply was more of grunt but another officer with him handed me a little card like the ones a mute person would give you if they wanted you to buy a pen or something. At any rate the card says "Targeted Train inspect stations and train cars, and to engage customers in conversation about our efforts to provide a safe Metrorail system."

Ok. Well, I think the fact that I had to stare and oggle at the officers and finally approach one with a fancy hat to ask what the hell was going on leads me to believe that they haven't yet accomplished the engaging customers part. Secondly, there didn't seem to be to much inspecting going on. Thirdly, when I actually got on the train the cops simply stuck their heads in for a second and turned around. The cops, of which I counted 15 and three dogs seemed to be grouped in threes having their own little conversations certainly not "engaging customers." Maybe they should bring a cop on a horse next time if they really want to make us feel safe.

Oh well, I guess I shouldn't complain. Cops work extremely long hours under less than optimal conditions and there are some very good ones out there. For the good ones I am grateful.

On a side note regarding MPD's new initiatives under Chief designate Lanier - I haven't seen any foot patrols yet. Have you?


Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know if that's fair to group all "cops" based on this incident. You have to distinguish Metro Transit and Metropolitan Police Dept officers.

Metro Transit is a very small deptartment with a limited number of officers on duty at any given time to cover the entire Metro system. Most of them spend their tours above ground because their philosophy is that they can respond to an incident at a station quicker above ground, so in general that's why you don't see them in the stations and on trains that often. But if you think about it, even if they all the officers on duty rode the trains, considering the size of the system and the number of trains running at a given time with the number of cars per train, the odds of you seeing an officer in a train is probably still pretty low.

As for the K-9 guys standing around, well, they're "drill" might have been over by the time you saw them, or maybe they were just half-assing it. Or maybe they were just conducting a "presence" patrol. Regardless, the fact that they clumped 3 K-9 units in one station like that is a little odd.

DJ said...

I think the whole engaging customers business was dreamt up by upper level administration. Cops aren't walmart greeters. Finding bad guys and deterring crime seems more what they're good at.

Prince of Petworth said...


I absolutely agree with you. I just found it ironic that on the cards they passed out- engaging customers was prominently listed. Also, with MPD's new initiative they are hoping to "engage customers" or the community so that they can be better trusted and so that people will contact them with info...