Law and Border: Crime on Both Sides of Line Is Chiefs’ Concern
To criminals, jurisdictional borders mean virtually nothing. They commit crimes where it suits them best. To police officers, though, the boundary between the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County has significance. It is the line of demarcation of police authority, and it can impede law enforcement.
Criminals take advantage of the delineation, operating with impunity along the border, committing crimes, creating disorder and avoiding apprehension. It has to stop.
That is why, earlier this month, the two of us rededicated ourselves and our departments to a spirit of cooperation.
Members of the Prince George’s County Police Department and the Metropolitan Po-
K lice Department met to discuss in detail our mutual crime concerns, criminal intelligence data sharing and joint strategies to address border-related crime. Although officers and detectives in our departments collaborate regularly on an informal basis, this session — led by us — was more formal and focused, and it included key officials from patrol, homicide, narcotics, stolen auto, special operations, intelligence, forensics and crime-mapping units.
We discussed tracking the cross-border use of firearms using forensic evidence; criminals’ use of automobiles — often stolen — traveling between the jurisdictions; drugrelated crime; serial crimes and serial criminals; and suspects of interest to both depart- ments. District commanders briefed their Prince George’s counterparts, and vice versa. At the end of the day it was apparent that, if we are to achieve safer border communities, we must collaborate on all operational levels.
We are committed to reinvigorating the initiative that allows Prince George’s and D.C. police officers to cross borders under a deputization process facilitated by the U.S. Marshals Service. Based on data analysis and intelligence gathering, we will increase the number of officers from each jurisdiction patrolling together and the frequency of those patrols. We will ensure that detectives — homicide and narcotics — meet regularly to exchange information and assist each other in investigations. And we will work together with federal law enforcement partners to make this collaboration successful.
The good news is that, because resources are available, this endeavor should not add much if any expense, and it should be up and running in time to stem traditional warmweather crime increases.