Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Safety Illusion, Another Chief, Taborn's Extension

UPDATE: Metro says Campbell was disciplined, but would not elaborate.

The overstretched Metro Transit Police Department has received new blows to its morale lately.


With the news of Usama bin Laden's demise, Metro made a big show of announcing it was yet again beefing up police presence in the system. A source inside the force said it was all a "lie" and added "there isn't one extra officer out there! In fact, we're shorter than usual!"

The source went on to say that Metro's promise of "an increase in uniformed officers in the system" is meaningless and that placing armed cops at high traffic stations like Metro Center does nothing more than create an "illusion" of more protection.

"It's a joke," said another cop.

Another source familiar with the Metro Transit Police said "they can re-allocate to different functions on a temporary basis in response to ongoing problems or threats, [but they] can't really beef up [but rather] just kind of move [people] around."

Deserving promotion?

A cop who hit a pedestrian while behind the wheel of a police cruiser back in 2008 has been promoted to deputy chief. In that incident, Leslie Campbell, who starts his new gig May 8, hit a pedestrian at Anacostia station while not paying full attention, but furthermore, he never bothered to report it despite a policy that states all incidents involving pedestrians must be reported.

According to several cops we spoke to, the events surrounding the incident are murky and widely talked about in the department. Some said the incident was more serious than portrayed by Metro and reported in the press, while others said they're less ticked off by the incident but rather that an investigation into the event just seemed to go away or "get swept under the carpet."

No source we talked said they knew of any repercussion stemming from the incident.

"[That case] is the first thing I thought about when I heard Campbell was getting promoted," said one source.

Another said it was surprising that someone with that on their record could be made a deputy chief, adding there are two sets of rules, one for the rank and file and another for those who have friends in high places.

Campbell is widely seen throughout the department as a crony of current chief Michael Taborn, with a poor reputation among many officers, several sources in the department claim.

We contacted Taborn to inquire about the results of the alleged investigation but received no response.


And finally, police are also miffed at the three-year extension of Taborn's contract. If you'll remember, back in January, there was no-confidence petition circulated against him, but that came to nothing.
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