Police Union Chief: Checkpoints Not Effective
Kris Baumann, head of the D.C. Fraternal Order of Police, today criticized the D.C. police department's controversial checkpoints in Trinidad. Baumann said he was pleased that police officials reported no gunshots or murders in the violence-plagued neighborhood over the weekend, but he added that the heavy publicity surrounding the checkpoints may be responsible for a temporary reprieve. The question remains, he said, what Chief Cathy L. Lanier's long-term strategy will be.
"This program has, as far as making arrests, had limited or no effectiveness," Baumann said. "I'm not sure where it goes from here."
Lanier has said she reserves the right to reestablish the checkpoints in Trinidad or other neighborhoods on an as-needed basis. Civil liberties groups have blasted the strategy of demanding identification from motorists and denying entrance to the neighborhood of many of them. Baumann said the plan has alarmed officers and seems to change from day to day.
"Their claim is this is a program and policy that has been carefully vetted," Baumann said. "If that were true, why has this program changed in the extent and scope constantly over the past four days?"
Ultimately, Baumann predicted, the program will turn out to make policing more difficult by harming the trust between officers and city residents.
"I'm still getting a lot of calls from officers who are concerned that this is not Constitutional," he said. "That's destroying the relations with citizens. I'm very concerned the department does not know what it's done."
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