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Title II would include these businesses in the reporting requirements. Since it would appear that a great deal of stolen property is disposed of in this manner, title II would provide a valuable law enforcement tool.
Title III is designed to close a serious gap in existing law relating to assaults on police and firemen. Current law requires assault on a specific policeman or fireman; whereas, one of the most dangerous problems confronting these men in recent years has been incidents in which persons have thrown rocks, bottles, broken glass, and even Molotov cocktails at police lines and firemen. The only existing law covering this situation is one enacted in 1892 which provides a maximum penalty of a $5 fine.
Title III would increase the penalty for such actions to a maximum of 5 years imprisonment and $5,000 fine, a penalty which is consistent with the other provisions of law relating to assaults on police and firemen.
Title IV prohibits the possession in the District of “flash paper" or water soluble paper, both of which can be destroyed almost instantly and both of which are used by organized gambling operations to keep records of illicit bets. The only legitimate use for this paper is as a novelty item and it would appear from a public policy point of view that prohibition of the paper is desirable in order to reduce supplies and further control illegal gambling operations.
Title V specifically authorizes the seizure by members of the District police force, Park Police, and U.S. Marshal's office, of conveyances used in narcoties violations. Current procedures are cumbersome and detrimental to good law enforcement procedures since the Police Department must rely on the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to seize vehicles used in narcotics violations.
Title VI of the bill authorizes the District government to more fully utilize police reserve corps volunteers for certain police duty, and enhances the training of the members of the corps, a highly desirable adjunot to police activities. The police reserve corps assists regular police officers in their duties by freeing them from certain activities such as traffic direction. The reserve corps members normally perform their duties in those areas of the city in which they may live or work and thus promote better community-police relations. Although police reserve corps members will continue to work without compensation, title VI will provide them with certain benefits if they are injured while serving as reserve corps members.
Title VII enables the District to issue a special motor vehicle operators' permit for police officers who live in Maryland or Virginia, but, as part of their duties, operate motorcycles or motor scooters in the District. Currently such officers must obtain a special license from either Maryland or Virginia, as the case may be, to operate such vehicles in the District, resulting in both inconvenience and cost to the officers and Police Department.
Title VIII authorizes the Commissioner to make payments to imprisoned persons or their dependents for work done by such persons for the Department of Corrections. The Department currently employs inmates in various positions within its facilities utilizing profits from the Correctional Industries Fund as payments for their labor. That fund receives profits from certain industrial operations of the
Department of Corrections, but it is anticipated that such profits may not be adequate to provide payments in the future for all prisoners employed by the Department.
Title VIII merely authorizes the Commissioner to seek appropriations, if necessary, to supplement the Correctional Industries Fund and maintain this highly desirable rehabilitative program.
Title IX authorizes the District to become a signatory member of the interstate parole and probation compact. That compact would enable the District to place its potential parolees, mandatory releasees, and probationers in their resident jurisdictions in a more orderly and effective manner. The District is the only jurisdiction eligible to become a signator to the compact that has not done so.
Title X provides greater flexibility to the District of Columbia Parole Board to credit the so-called "street time” of a parolee against his original sentence, should the individual's parole be revoked. Under current law, if an inmate is paroled and then must be returned to custody for violation of the conditions of his release, he receives no credit against his sentence for the time spent on parole even though he was under supervision during that time.
In some instances, the street time may amount to a number of years and denial of credit for that time may have a serious effect on any rehabilitative efforts if an individual has to be returned to custody. Title X merely authorizes the Board of Parole to credit street time if it believes in a particular case that such action would be desirable from the standpoint of both the individual involved and society as a whole.
Titles XI and XII make technical, perfecting amendments in existing law.
Mr. Chairman, we have been considering certain minor additions to S. 2209, but I am unable to present them to you today because we have not yet received the necessary clearances from affected Federal agencies. I would ask your permission to submit a supplemental statement on these proposals as promptly as possible after we have received clearance on them.
Senator STEVENSON. We will be glad to have the supplemental statement, and for your benefit, also for the benefit of any other witnesses here, we will keep this record open for 4 weeks after today. (The supplemental statement follows:)
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Washington, D.C., January 11, 1972. Hon. ADLAI E. STEVENSON III, Chairman, Business, Commerce, and Judiciary Subcommittee of the Committee
on the District of Columbia, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. DEAR SENATOR STEVENSON: This is in further reference to S. 2209, the proposed "District of Columbia Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Act”. Alt your hearings on S. 2209, you requested additional comments on Titles V and VI of the bill.
Title V of the bill specifically authorizes the seizure by members of the District of Columbia Police force, Park Police and United States Marshal's Office of conveyances used in narcotics violations, in like manner as such seizure is currently authorized in connection with gambling violations. As I indicated in my testimony, current statutory provisions are cumbersome and detrimental to good law enforcement procedures since the Police Department must rely on the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to seize vehicles used in narcotics violations.
With respect to Title V, you asked that we consider the possibility of expanding the seizure provision to include conveyances used in crimes other than gambling and narcotics violations. The General Counsel's office of the Metropolitan Police Department has carefully reviewed State laws containing broader seizure authority, such as that contained in the Illinois statute. In light of the considerably different scope, form, and procedures set out in the Illinois law and the fact that Title V of S. 2209 is based on the analogous Federal law applicable in the District of Columbia, it would appear preferable at this time to enact the provisions of Title V rather than seek a general revision of the seizure laws in the District. We will continue to review the laws of other States with the intent of possibly seeking broader seizure authority at some future time.
Title VI of S. 2209 authorizes the District Government to more fully utilize police reserve corps volunteers for certain police duty and enhances the training of the members of the corps. You asked whether the provisions of this title would constitute an expansion of the District's current statutory authority to regulate the use of firearms by police reserve corps members.
Existing District law (D.C. Code, sec. 22–3204) makes it unlawful to carry a pistol outside a home or business without a license issued therefor by the Chief of Police. The exceptions to that law (D.C. Code, sec. 22–3205) have been found to not include reserve corps officers and such officers, therefore, have not been authorized to carry weapons in the exercise of their duties. Section 601 (b) of S. 2209 would authorize the District of Columbia Council to make rules and regulations “prohibiting, permitting, regulating, and controlling the possession, carrying, and use by reserve officers of weapons (including firearms).” This provision would expand the District Government's authority to regulate the use of firearms by police reserve corps officers.
At the hearing on S. 2209, I also indicated that we would be submitting certain minor additions to S. 2209. Those proposed additions are attached and I urge their enactment as Titles XIII and XIV of S. 2209.
The proposed Title XIII would amend existing law relating to Police Trial Board procedures. The proposal would eliminate the requirement that an officer must have a right of appearance before the Police Trial Board prior to dismissal in those cases where the officer has already been convicted of a criminal offense, except minor traffic offenses. In such cases, the requirement of a personal appearance is unnecessary since the officer has already been found guilty by a court. The existing requirement can also result in considerable cost to the District Government if the officer is incarcerated in another jurisdiction and the Trial Board must go to him for his personal appearance before the Board.
The proposed Title XIV would authorize employees of the Department of Corrections to make arrests without warrants in certain limited cases involving escapes, absconds, and sumggling of contraband into prison. Under existing procedures, Corrections' employees must seek the assistance of the United States Marshal's Office for purposes of an arrest. The provisions of Title XIV are based on similar authority granted employees of the United States Bureau of Prisons (18 U.S.C. 3050).
Thank you for the opportunity to provide these additional comments and recommendations with respect to S. 2209. Sincerely yours,
GRAHAM W. WATT,
Assistant to the Commissioner. For: WALTER E. WASHINGTON,
Commissioner. S. 2209-PROPOSED ADDITIONS
TITLE XIII-IMPROVEMENT OF TRIAL BOARD PROCEDURES
SEC. 1301. Section 1 of the Act approved February 28, 1901, as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 4–121), is further amended to read as follows:
“The District of Columbia Council, in addition to the powers vested in it by law, is hereby authorized and empowered to make, modify, and enforce, under such penalties as it may deem necessary, all needful rules and regulations for the proper government, conduct, discipline, and good name of said Metropolitan Police force; and the Commissioner of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered to fine, suspend with or without pay, and dismiss any officer or member of said police force for any offense against the laws of the United States or the laws and ordinances or regulations of the District of Columbia, whether before or after conviction thereof in any court or courts, and for misconduct in office, or for any breaches or violations of the rules and regulations made by said Council for the government, conduct, discipline, and good name of said police force. Except in the case of an officer or member convicted by any court for an offense enumerated above, other than a minor traffic offense, no person shall be removed from said police force except upon written charges preferred against him in the name of the Chief of Police of said police force to the trial board or boards hereinafter provided for and after an opportunity shall have been afforded of being heard in his defense. No person so removed shall be reappointed to any office in said police force. Special policemen and additional privates may be removed from office by the Commissioner without cause and without trial. Charges preferred against any member of said police force to the trial board or boards hereinafter provided for may be altered or amended in the discretion of such trial board or boards at any time before final action by said board or boards under such regulations as the said Council may adopt with an opportunity to be heard as aforesaid.
TITLE XIV-ARRESTS WITHOUT WARRANT BY OFFICERS AND
EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS Sec. 1401. Title 23 of the District of Columbia Code is amended by (1) designating section 23–582 as "Section 23–583” and (2) adding the following new section :
“SEC. 23–582. Arrests Without Warrant by Officers and Employees of the Department of Corrections. An officer or employee of the Department of Corrections of the District of Columbia may arrest, without a warrant having previously been issued therefor, a person whom he has probable cause to believe has committed or is about to commit an offense specified in section 8 of the Act of July 15, 1932, as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 22–2601) or section 1 of the Act of December 15, 1941, as amended (D.C. Code, sec. 22– 2603). If the arrested person is a fugitive from custody." Senator STEVENSON. Mr. Watt, it may be that on a few of these points,
a you will want to call on your colleagues who are here.
Is title II, the provisions which provide for licensing of businesses which buy or sell secondhand personal property requires daily reports on items which they obtain. Is that an unusual provision?
I just do not recall having previously seen this.
Mr. WATT. No, sir; I think it is quite a common provision applied generally to junk yards, dealers in metals—particularly more valuable metals—various kinds of equipment, often of a construction nature.
It applies to pawnbrokers and those who buy and sell in secondhand goods.
At the present time we have approximately 275 dealers who under present law are required to, and do comply with the reporting requirements.
Senator STEVENSON. Would this provision apply to pawnbrokers?
Title II would extend the same requirement to such businesses as jewelry stores, which will sometimes receive a piece of jewelry in trade on a new piece, camera stores, some household appliance stores which again deal with tradeins-bring in your old TV, and get credit for a new one-and stores selling office equipment, these are all items which increasingly are subject to theft, and to the need for new avenues of fencing, of disposing of stolen goods. It is our belief this will help alleviate this problem.
Senator STEVENSON. These requirements are not unusual, you say? Mr. WATT. No, they are not.
As a matter of fact, reputable secondhand dealers, junk dealers, pawnbrokers, for the most part, although they obviously have to fill out a form and submit it, welcome the fact that they themselves are being protected by the action of the police department in checking these daily reports against reports of stolen property.
Without that kind of oversight, quite unknowingly, a junk dealer, pawnbroker, or jewelry store, could become involved in a criminally related activity which most of them would certainly prefer not to.
Senator STEVENSON. I am surprised that existing law does not cover the situation that title III is aimed at.
Is it not an offense, under other provisions of the law, to assault a policeman or fireman
Why would it have to be an assault on a specific policeman?
Mr. Watt. At the present time, to carry forward a prosecution of an assault on a policeman, it is necessary to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant assaulted à particular officer who was injured.
As you know, in demonstrations, a policeman may be established in a line, and firemen are grouped, either riding on an apparatus, or operating the apparatus.
Those who are intent on throwing missiles at the police, or at the firemen, seldom if ever seem to be by intent attacking a particular police officer or a particular fireman.
They are attacking the group. The throwing of a missile, of course, cannot be carefully controlled. It may hit anyone of a group of officers. At the present time, those guilty of throwing these missiles at random cannot be readily prosecuted for assault on a police officer, or for assault with a deadly weapon.
Furthermore, the only criminal violation which can be charged is that which prohibits the throwing of stones and missiles generally. For that there is a $5 fine.
Senator STEVENSON. Title V-does the District now have a law which permits the confiscation of vehicles used in the commission of an offense other than narcotics violations?
Mr. Watt. Under the District of Columbia Code, the police department may now confiscate vehicles or conveyances which are seized in connection with gambling violations.
We would like to have the same provision applied to those seized in connection with narcotics violations.
At the present time, the Bureau of Narcotics has this authority. If the District of Columbia police wish to impound or seize a vehicle which is involved in a narcotics violation, they must go to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and have them seize the vehicle.
Senator STEVENSON. Are you saying then that you would not want the authority to confiscate vehicles used in the commission of murders, bombings, or other equally serious offenses ?
Mr. Watt. I do not know. May I call on one of my associates with regard to those vehicles involved
This is Mr. Alprin of the police department, general counsel's office.