Live Blog: Ask the Chief with Cathy Lanier

WASHINGTON – D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier was a guest Thursday on WTOP’s “Ask the Chief” program.

Check out these stories for additional details from the program:

Learn more about traffic versus pedestrian citations, traffic and stop light cameras and police “less than lethal” tools in this live blog:

10:56 a.m., speaking about police allegedly taking memory card from citizen recording a crime:

“We’ve had a policy in place for a long time that makes it clear what you can and can’t do with confiscating cameras.”

“If the allegations are true, then the officers violated policy.”

“It’s ironic it came after I issued an updated order” that gave a clearer sense of the rules.

You are well within your rights to record anything on public streets.

10:52 a.m., speaking about personal injury lawyers reacting to victims in police reports:

“It’s so ironic. There were policies put into place to try to stop that, such as showing an ID before getting a report.”

“We’re not sure how these reports are getting out.”

What’s ironic, is it’s not happening in surrounding jurisdictions as it is to us.

“They aren’t supposed to have access to this.”

10:47 a.m., speaking about breathalyzers:

I’m reluctant to say when it’s going to go back online. When it does, it’s going to be the best in the country.

10:46 a.m., speaking about security for the inauguration:

We start about 18 months out. There is a lot of planning under way.

10:45 a.m., speaking about sending officers to Charlotte for Democratic National Convention law enforcement:

It doesn’t cost us anything. They want the finest police force in the country. That’s us.

10:43 a.m., speaking about a fallen officer:

He was stabbed while trying to break up a fight in 2007, along with a security guard. We’re still trying to figure out if that had anything to do with his death.

I believe the U.S. Attorney would go after the suspect again if the outcome of the victim changes.

10:42 a.m., speaking about if MPD officers have tasers:

We do have “less-lethal” options, including OC spray and an “asp,” or collapsible baton.

“You hope your less-lethal options are just that, but you see fatalities with tasers nationwide.” It isn’t a cost option, but I’m uncomfortable with that.

10:34 a.m., speaking about additional security for Nats postseason:

“We already have that all sealed up. We know we’re going (to the playoffs)”

The Nationals will pay for additional reimbursable police officer details.

Stadium is filled to capacity for most games. For getting people in and out, and celebrations in the streets, you’ll see a lot more police.

10:31 a.m., speaking about high-profile attacks in Eastern Market:

The robbery issues has been huge for us all year long. In vast majority of robberies, the victim has a cellphone or other device in their hand, and the suspect will snatch it and run away.

These are disturbing because the victims were assaulted seemingly unnecessarily, and not far apart.

Don’t have any information on the car in the second case, as we did with the first. “There’s still a lot of work to do.”

“When we catch the folks in these robberies, we’re going to go after these people hard.”

10:28 a.m., speaking about Segways:

They are never supposed to be on sidewalks. Park Police enforce that around the National Mall.

10:24 a.m., speaking about yielding to cyclists:

Even if there is a designated bike lane, they do not have to stay in that lane. They are restricted to two abreast, and have to adhere to all driving rules, such as stop signs and stop lights. They can travel in any part of the roadway. They could be in the center lane of a three lane road, for example.

Can’t travel on roadways where the speed is over 30 mph.

More information about the difference between motorized cycles and motorcycles is available online.

There is confusion because there are so many different kinds of transportation. It’s a matter of looking up the rules that apply to you. “They aren’t complicated if you don’t look at them all.”

10:22 a.m., speaking about enforcement for pedestrian violations:

You should always yield to a pedestrian. But if the pedestrian is not paying attention and crosses when they are not supposed to yield and gets into an accident, they could be cited.

10:14 a.m., speaking about stop sign camera enforcement:

Will probably start around end of year. Will notify public when placed. Once placed, we’ll give 30-day warning period. After that, live fines. Eight to 10 different intersections, and we can move them around based on crash data.

These will primarily go around schools.

These will monitor cars that do not stop at the stop sign line of an intersection. Once that’s captured, three individuals, including one police officer, will review to ensure it was, in fact, rolling through a stop sign.

We currently have 47 traffic cameras for 11,000 miles of public roadway.

10:12 a.m., speaking about police and private surveillance cameras:

As long as the camera is attached to private property, citizens can set up cameras. If they want to allow us access to their footage, we will utilize it if we need to gather evidence.

10:10 a.m., speaking about choosing fines:

We were trying to bring us in line with Maryland and Virginia.

The $250 max is in line with my recommendations.

10:04 a.m., speaking about photo enforcement, speed cameras and the amount of the fines:

I can’t say whether higher fines equal safer streets. The enforcement definitely makes a difference.

“We’ve demonstrated over and over in the District is has a tremendous impact on traffic fatalities.”

From 2001-2011, we saw about a 50 percent reduction. In just the last year, we’re down 60 percent. Today, we have 11 traffic fatalities on record.

If an adult pedestrian is struck by a vehicle traveling 30 mph or less, they have an 80 percent chance of survival. If it’s over 30 mph, they have an 80 percent chance of not surviving.

On whether amount of fine comes into play, “There’s no way to know that.”

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

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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