Lanier to Chef Geoff: Thanks, slow down

WASHINGTON – The D.C. chief of police responded to local cuisine personality Chef Geoff on Ask the Chief” Thursday, who recently hired sign spinners to alert drivers to new speed cameras near Foxhall Road in Northwest.

“The goal is to have people slow down out there,” she says. “If he’s going to help me slow down people there, I’m all for it.”

“I hope he slows down.”

Police issued roughly 20,000 warning tickets the first 30 days the cameras were in operation. The number of active citations has halved to roughly 11,000 in the following 30 days.

“That tells you there’s a problem there, doesn’t it?” says Lanier.

Learn more about recent Occupy protests at the Alfalfa Club meeting, new police crime-fighting initiatives and one of the most “horrific” traffic accidents the chief has witnessed in our Live Blog:

10:54 a.m., speaking about Occupy D.C.:

I think their relationship with police is good, 90 percent of the time. There are things they do that raise that tension, like when they protested the Alfalfa Club event last weekend.

That doesn’t help. We don’t appreciate that.

I was there for the whole event. We had about 6 city blocks closed down. They never breached our perimeter, but a lot of the attendees came from outside our perimeter. We didn’t have control over people walking in from 15 different directions.

10:53 a.m., speaking about her contract:

I’ve been busy dealing with crime the last few weeks, and I’ve not really put that much time into it.

I need to get back on the ball, but I intend to stay.

10:52 a.m., speaking about ticket writers cross-checking for stolen cars:

The ability to link those systems is going to be an important key. There has been a break in that connection. I know they’re trying to repair that now

10:51 a.m., speaking about driving around school buses:

It’s around a $500 fine for passing a stopped school bus. Our officers are aggressive about enforcing that. I’m not sure what the regulation is on passing a Metro bus. That’s when many collisions occur; unsafe passing of any stopped vehicle.

10:46 a.m., speaking about gun registration laws:

We recommended against the training requirement because it’s not what other districts do, and it’s not necessary. It looks like we’re going to move to eliminate that. That’s the biggest complaint we get.

10:45 a.m., speaking about Texting 5-0:

We’ve seen a 300 percent increase in the tips we’ve received from this. We see tips on gang members carrying guns, shootings, homicides. If you have a regular complaint, call 911. But if you want to get someone off the street, text 50411 for an anonymous tip.

10:44 a.m., speaking about “Click it or Ticket”:

It is a primary offense to not wear a seatbelt. About 10,000 tickets were issued last year. 7,000-10,000 is average.

I couldn’t stand to wear my seatbelt until I spent two years in the traffic fatality unit, I don’t pull out of my driveway without wearing a seatbelt.

It’s extremely rare for us to see fatalities of people who do wear a seatbelt.

10:41 a.m., speaking about the Office of Police Complaints:

It’s an independent agency that gives the public an option to complain about police actions. They manager a far, far smaller number of complaints than we do.

I think they only adjudicated 14 cases last year. “If that’s the potential impact for this year, that’s not significant.”

Members of the public can always complain to both.

Most cases are to do with rudeness.

10:35 a.m., speaking about license plate scanners:

The information can be used for criminal cases. Such as for lookouts associated with another crime.

10:33 a.m., speaking about the infant found who died of exposure:

We may never know the cause of death. We just released a photograph of the towel asking again for the public’s assistance.

10:31 a.m., speaking about jaywalking tickets:

We write an awful lot of them. We have a focused campaign where we focus for several weeks on pedestrian violations. There are thousands of tickets issued every year.

10:24 a.m., speaking about robberies in NW:

They’re in Shepherd Park area, and off Connecticut Avenue. There are robbery patterns across the city. We’ve kicked off a rewards campaign to help people turn in people associated with robberies.

We’ve seen a rise in car robbery, and “snatch” crimes like taking iPods and phones.

Call 202 727-9099 to be elligible for the reward.

“If I can offer more profit than what the bad guys are selling, we might have a shot.”

Crimesolvers backs us up with a lot of this.

We’ve had cellular service providers agree not to have service to phones that are stolen.

10:20 a.m., speaking about speed cameras vs. Chef Geoff:

He’s not the only one who has done that. I don’t mind. “The goal is to have people slow down out there. If he’s going to help me slow down people there, I’m all for it.”

“I hope he slows down.”

There was a 30-day warning period, and about 30 days since. The number of citations has cut in half. There were 20,000 warning tickets, and only about 11,000 tickets.

“That tells you there’s a problem there, doesn’t it?”

10:14 a.m., speaking about a police pursuit with a minivan:

“It was literally one of the most horrific scenes I’ve ever seen.”

An officer responded to a shooting near Upshur Street. A victim provided a “very good” description of a van with a Virginia tag. Another officer saw the van an began to follow it. The van lost control near Upshur and North Capitol Street. The van flipped over, the police car landed on top of it. All three suspects were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the van.

10:13 a.m., speaking about recent traffic incidents on H Street:

The driver of the car who jumped the curb had a medical emergency and lost control. The driver is hospitalized, the pedestrian has minor injuries.

A motorcade was also on the road and a female motorcycle officer was hit. She was hospitalized but does not have any broken bones. As far as we know the officer was not at fault.

10:12 a.m., speaking about false alarms:

It wastes a lot of police resources. Please talk to the security company about fixing that.

10:03 a.m., speaking about the Wednesday sexual assault at a D.C. elementary school:

An adult male entered the school Wednesday afternoon, asked to speak to someone and was given a student escort, and during that escort inappropriately touched a student.

There is not a police officer attached to this school. School officials sent out a notice to parents right after it happened.

It’s hard to tell the seriousness of a crime with children. Sometimes an instance of abuse are understated, and sometimes the children don’t tell us enough.

We have a Youth Division trained to handle these kinds of cases.

WTOP’s Paul D. Shinkman contributed to this report. Follow Paul and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)