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Fenty budget cuts hit reimbursable cop program
The Metropolitan Police Department’s reimbursable detail program, which regularly provides patrols for Georgetown’s businesses and residential areas around campus, faces significant budget cuts under the 2011 fiscal year budget proposed by outgoing-Mayor Adrian Fenty.
The program allows private entities to hire off-duty MPD officers to patrol a given area. The private party pays half of each reimbursable detail officer’s hourly wage, and the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration matches these funds. Fenty’s budget cuts have the agency reducing spending on the program by $500,000.
In a June Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting, Second District Lieutenant John Hedgecock said that the businesses and associations in Georgetown hire more reimbursable details than any neighborhood in the District, and they contributed to relatively low crime rates in the area. At the Nov. 29 ANC meeting, he said that the details are present five a days a week in the business district, and seven days a week around campus.
Hedgecock said the program has been used extensively in the surrounding area at the University’s request to address safety issues and the concerns of local residents regarding students living off-campus. The Department of Public Safety hired an additional detail in response to the string of Village A burglaries in early November, according to Vice President of University Safety Rocco Delmonaco.
Associate Director of DPS Joseph Smith declined to comment on any cuts to the program.
“We have no definitive information about exactly what or how or when this could impact our current efforts,” Julie Green-Bataille, Associate Vice President for Communications, wrote in an email.
Luca Pivato, the Vice President of the Citizens Association of Georgetown and co-chair of the CAG Public Safety Committee, wrote in an e-mail that CAG hired reimbursable details in response to an increase in burglaries and robberies in residential areas. CAG noticed a decrease in crime since the hiring of the reimbursable details, he said.
“As far as our detail program is concerned, we are satisfied with MPD’s responsiveness and work,” Pivato wrote.
Pivato added that CAG was unaware of the proposed cuts.
The Burleith community does not fund any reimbursable details, according to ANC Commissioner Ed Solomon, Burleith’s ANC representative.
Fenty’s budget also proposes a reduction of less than 10 percent in the budgets of ANCs across the city. Solomon, who is the Georgetown ANC’s treasurer, said this would not have a significant impact on the community.
“We have enough funds to provide for expenses,” Solomon said.
The reduction in the ANC budget, funds that are allocated based on proposals submitted by members of the community, will result in fewer funds available for community projects such as parks and playgrounds, he said.
After a marathon 14 hour-plus budget hearing that ended early Wednesday morning, the new budget is pending approval from the D.C. City Council.