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Posted: 10/12/2007 4:18:37 AM EST
From today's Washington Post:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/11/AR2007101100935.html

Police Reviving Program To Recover Illegal Guns
Special Unit Shut Down in Late 1990s

By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 12, 2007; Page B01

D.C. police Sgt. Curt Sloan held Polaroid snapshots of the 98 guns he helped recover in the mid-1990s, memories of past police glory.

He pointed to pictures of an extended-barrel MAC-10 machine gun and a tommy gun, the cylinder-fed machine gun known best from the Prohibition days of Al Capone. They represented a fraction of the 1,308 guns that the city's firearms recovery units yanked from D.C. streets in 18 months from 1995 to 1997.

"Somebody is alive today because of all this," he said.

Later this month, Sloan and about 30 city officers will get the chance to relive that success as D.C. police reestablish the gun-recovery unit. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and other law enforcement officials hope it will get hundreds of guns off city streets, curb violent crime and lead to more prosecutions of gun cases.

Former chief Charles H. Ramsey dismantled the unit in the late 1990s, putting more uniformed officers on the streets instead.

The new unit signals a shift in how Lanier plans to reduce homicides, which are up about 7 percent from last year, as she crafts her own crime-fighting strategies for the 3,900-member force she has led since January. Lanier joined Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) in announcing plans yesterday to add foot patrols, calling that tactic "old-fashioned policing at its best."

The patrols are meant to increase police visibility and strengthen community ties. The gun mission is targeted toward reducing the number of shootings in the city; despite one of the strictest gun laws in the country, weapons remain in plentiful supply. Last year under Ramsey, police confiscated more than 2,600 guns. Lanier wants to go deeper to get to the source of the firearms.

"It's ridiculous. There are way too many guns out there," Lanier said in an interview.

About 80 percent of the city's slayings are committed with guns, said Inspector Brian Bray of the narcotics and special investigations unit, who will lead the new group.

After the gun-recovery unit was disbanded in the 1990s, he said, homicides were basically the only cases in which guns were seriously investigated by D.C. police. So while city officers continued to recover more than 2,000 guns annually in recent years, investigators rarely tracked where the weapons were coming from and who the leading dealers were.

"Now we're going to debrief'' suspects on where the guns came from, Bray said. "We're going to go after everything we can. The interview is the key."

The unit will operate under the "plus-one rule." That means that if a suspect is caught with a gun or ammunition, an officer should assume that the suspect has more and police should apply for a search warrant.

Even when police find illegal guns, the U.S. attorney's office might choose not to prosecute. Bray said the city is asking federal prosecutors to be as aggressive as possible.

Jeffrey A. Taylor, interim U.S. attorney for the District, vowed that his office will work closely with the unit. "If you are a criminal in the possession of a gun, we're not going to make deals," he said.

Taylor added that the new investigations and gun recoveries could help close open homicide cases by giving officers forensic evidence to link shell casings with firearms.

"The more guns you get off the street, the better we often are at solving unsolved crimes," he said.

In recent years, most of the city's gun trafficking cases were investigated by agents from the D.C. office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Edgar A. Domenech, the office's special agent in charge. He acknowledged, however, that the agency's ability to curb gun trafficking in the city was limited. Further hindering ATF's progress was the fact that federal investigators typically didn't receive D.C. police reports on gun arrests for five to seven days, a critical delay.

With the new police unit and increased cooperation between local and federal officers, officials expect that stronger cases will be built against suspects and that gun-related violence will diminish.

A similar local-federal partnership in Richmond has contributed to a 40 percent drop in homicides in parts of that city since June 2005, Domenech said.

As part of the program, several D.C. detectives will be deputized as ATF officers, allowing them to cross borders to investigate guns that end up in the District.

The unit will operate in six of the city's seven police districts. The 2nd Police District in upper Northwest is omitted because it has relatively low rates of violent crime and gun recoveries, Bray said.

Some days, the unit will employ "high-intensity traffic stops," pulling over cars for minor offenses to try to establish probable cause to search vehicles. Officers also will use informants to help them secure search warrants for suspected gun holders.

For Sloan, the first goal is for the unit's officers to be "as legally aggressive as possible" and to know the hot spots for violence and gun trafficking. That ultimately will help reduce shootings, he said.

"Your gunman is your most heinous criminal," Sloan said. "You're going to see a downward trend of violent crime. It has to be."
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 4:28:55 AM EST
That article is full of "just barely within the limits of the Constitution" win.
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 4:31:23 AM EST

Originally Posted By crurifragium:
From today's Washington Post:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/11/AR2007101100935.html
*snip*

Some days, the unit will employ "high-intensity traffic stops," pulling over cars for minor offenses to try to establish probable cause to search vehicles. Officers also will use informants to help them secure search warrants for suspected gun holders.

For Sloan, the first goal is for the unit's officers to be "as legally aggressive as possible" and to know the hot spots for violence and gun trafficking. That ultimately will help reduce shootings, he said.

*snip*



sounds like great place to live.


Link Posted: 10/12/2007 4:36:41 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 4:36:48 AM EST
Gotta love DC...

Kharn
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 4:39:16 AM EST
Seems they would have really enjoyed wearing funny hats and bright red coats...
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 4:39:33 AM EST
"Somebody is alive today because of all this," he said.



sadly true

sadly it is some POS that should have been ventilated
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 5:29:17 AM EST

Originally Posted By dedfella:
"Somebody is alive today because of all this," he said.



sadly true

sadly it is some POS that should have been ventilated


I was thinking the same.
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 5:35:58 AM EST

Originally Posted By bullyforyou:

Originally Posted By crurifragium:
From today's Washington Post:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/11/AR2007101100935.html
*snip*

Some days, the unit will employ "high-intensity traffic stops," pulling over cars for minor offenses to try to establish probable cause to search vehicles. Officers also will use informants to help them secure search warrants for suspected gun holders.

For Sloan, the first goal is for the unit's officers to be "as legally aggressive as possible" and to know the hot spots for violence and gun trafficking. That ultimately will help reduce shootings, he said.

*snip*



sounds like great place to live.

Makes you wonder how many of these cases will end up getting tossed with a decent defense attorney.


Link Posted: 10/12/2007 5:37:56 AM EST
Most guns are already banned from the streets of DC. They won't find much, no matter how hard they look. The fine, upstanding citizens of DC KNOW that guns are not legal on the streets of DC, so they shipped them out LONG ago.

Link Posted: 10/12/2007 5:40:48 AM EST

Originally Posted By NimmerMehr:

Originally Posted By dedfella:
"Somebody is alive today because of all this," he said.



sadly true

sadly it is some POS that should have been ventilated


I was thinking the same.


I thought the same but also thought some innocent person is raped or dead or both because they had no means to defend themselves
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 5:42:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By crurifragium:
From today's Washington Post:
"Somebody is alive today because of all this," he said.



Heh. NAW.


Link Posted: 10/12/2007 5:43:25 AM EST
God they are already gearing up for 08......

You will have to excuse me I need to go hide my guns.
Link Posted: 10/12/2007 6:09:19 AM EST
Some days, the unit will employ "high-intensity traffic stops," pulling over cars for minor offenses to try to establish probable cause to search vehicles.


You mean, the burnt tail light is just a "pretext"?

And there is the "no seatbelt" stop.

And in DC, driving while white.

I am sure they have lots of excuses.


All of this is really proof that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
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