Remember that great WMATA success story in which an enterprising, plainclothes Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) detective read about a pervert on the blog and planned and carried out a successful take down?
Well, stings like that are increasingly unlikely.
Unsuck DC Metro has learned Metro has drastically reduced its plainclothes patrols giving former plainclothes cops, uniformed patrol duties. The move has pissed off the plainclothes cops and demoralized even more of the force.
A source on the force who is not a plainclothes cop said "this just makes everyone else feel like we're PR cops and nothing more. It's getting harder and harder to do our job."
The plainclothes cops were only on the buses--about 20 officers, said another source on the force.
"Of course they are pissed because they put in to go to that unit because it has always been a plainclothes unit," the source said. "This is upper management's way of 'saying' police presence has been increased. It is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul."
Here's what another source familiar with the MTPD had to say:
I have to assume MTPD’s brain trust figured people (passengers, Board of Directors, politicians) would be more pleased to see more uniformed officers out there. Criticism of Taborn for taking this “make ‘em happy” approach would be only partly justified--as everyone knows, they need more officers.Other items:
Law enforcement geniuses will argue endlessly among themselves about how to strike the right balance between uniformed presence vs. plain clothes officers catching people in the act.
One entry level police officer costs WMATA about $100K per year. Add a million dollars onto the budget, you get 10 more officers out there. I think it’s worth, but politics is a beast.
Reducing the plainclothes patrols could be seen as robbing Peter to pay Paul, but some would say that it's robbing Paul to pay Peter. It’s not an easy problem.
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