DC police chief wants to eliminate 90-day rule involving discipl - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DC police chief wants to eliminate 90-day rule involving disciplined officers

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D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says it happens too often. Officers being suspended or terminated for disciplinary reasons and even criminal issues, but she is forced to hire them back if the investigation lasts too long.

It is call the 90-day rule, and on Wednesday, the chief appealed to the D.C. Council to get the rule repealed.

Chief Lanier is out front on this one and she says it is very simple. There are officers working today who are not fit to wear the uniform. But because of this law, her hands are tied to keep them off the force.

“There are dozens that have been fired for misconduct so egregious that we had to rehire,” said Chief Lanier.

Officers have been reinstated because investigations into their alleged wrongdoing took over 90 days.

“We've had officer involved in drug dealing,” said Lanier. “We’ve had officers who had information about a potential murder that was going to happen, but no action [took place] and the murder actually occurred. So, a murder they could have potentially stopped.”

The police and fire union say the 90-day rule is needed to limit internal investigations which they believe would go much longer if the law is repealed.

Kristopher Baumann of the police union told the council, “These individuals sitting out for unspecified amounts of time, no accountability, no tracking of these individuals. How do you justify that to the taxpayers?”

This is not a new effort. It has failed before. It all started following the death of David Rosenbalm back in 2006. An EMS worker was fired for going to the wrong hospital because it was closer to her home.

“The District was forced to rehire her because the 90-day law makes no exception for cases under investigation by the Office of the Attorney General,” Lanier said to the council.

Councilmember Tommy Wells discussed doubling the time period to 180 days. But neither side agreed. The union saying it is time for an outside review.

“Mandate an independent review of this process before we make any changes to the statute,” said police union president Delroy Burton.

Lanier made it clear this issue is only with a few officers. But she says keeping them employed hurts moral and endangers public safety.

It is likely several changes to this legislation will be made before it is voted on.

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