Panel releases recommendations for better Metro policing

Better communication and training are the key recommendations offered by an independent panel established to investigate complaints over the Metro Transit Police Department.

The first report by the Metro Transit Police Department’s Investigations Review Panel, which was approved in June 2020, was made public Thursday.

The April 20 report reviewed a total of four complaints from 2019; two improper arrests, an incident involving racial profiling and another labeled as a bias-based stop.

“We are actively reviewing the recommendations you have made and will begin taking
actions to implement improvements,” Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlik wrote in response.

He said training for all new sergeants “specific to communication” and responses to citizen complaints have already been moved from police commanders to the department’s Office of Responsibility and Inspections.

But D.C. Council Member Charles Allen, who represents Ward 6, said the report doesn’t offer the public confidence in the panel’s ability to keep officer’s actions in check, citing its lack of details.

“My first impression is that this is meant to give the appearance of oversight rather than be a body that would help the public trust their claims against Metro Transit Police were taken seriously,” Allen said, according to The Washington Post.

The report did not contain the names of anyone involved, including officers. Dates, times and other details of the incidents reviewed, along with any narrative that explains what happened, were not included either.

Metro Board Chair Paul Smedberg countered by hailing the panel’s work.

“We appreciate the thoughtful recommendations of how Metro and the MTPD can improve community policing … Producing and publishing these reports is a very positive step and ensures a higher level of transparency and public accountability,” Smedberg said, according to The Washington Post.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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