D.C. police officer charged with theft

WASHINGTON – D.C. Police say an officer who worked in the evidence control branch has been charged with theft, though it isn’t immediately clear what he allegedly swiped.

Police said Friday that Rodney Williams was arrested while on duty Thursday. He faces a charge of second-degree theft.

In the past five years, more than 100 police officers have been arrested. But the number of arrests may be less significant than the start date of the officers involved.

Williams joined the force in 1990 — a year that repeatedly links troubled officers.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier says more than 40 percent of officers who get arrested joined the department around that time.

“The vast majority of the cases — when you analyze criminal conduct, certainly — come from late ’88, ’89, 90,” Lanier said before a council committee last week.

Another troubled period of hires was 2003 and 2004.

“When we look back at officers who have been terminated or officers involved in misconduct and we compare that to today’s standards, there are many officers who would not have been hired under today’s standards that were hired under previous standards,” she testified.

While she calls the current recruiting and hiring process “sound,” D.C. Police have put in place multiple levels of checks to expose misconduct among officers who did not endure the same scrutiny before joining the force.

Officer Linwood Barnhill Jr. was accused in December of prostituting teenage girls from his home. He joined the department in 1989.

Police say Williams’ arrest stemmed from a tip from a police department employee to the department’s internal affairs division.

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AP contributed to this report.

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