What Happens Next Time?

Reason Magazine – Hit & Run > Adventures in Police Professionalism

D.C. Police Chief Kathy Lanier rehires 17 police officers previously fired for misconduct.

Then she decides the city will arm them with semiautomatic weapons.

Sounds like a fantastic couple of ideas. What could possibly go wrong?

They were reinstated (with full back pay and seniority) because the court ordered them to be reinstated.

“If a judge said they were wrongfully terminated and you have to take them back, then I do,” Lanier said yesterday. “For any cases where there was an ethics issue — unless I have no other choice — I wouldn’t return them. It’s too important an issue to me.”

The returning officers, who have been rehired since October, have generated tensions in the department, with some colleagues asking why they had been rehired.

Now, what happens if they offend again? If some citizen is wrongfully arrested, or worse yet, shot by one of these officers that the judge ordered reinstated?

Is the judge going to take the fall for putting them back on the force?

We all know the answer to that.

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