Ahh, Ramsey.. when will you learn?
- Well, I think this about says it all:
-For his part, Ramsey said he does not even look at the site.
-"He has a right to put up a Web site," Ramsey said. "If that is what
-he wants, a forum for that, there is nothing I can do about it."
If you were someone who cared one whit about doing your job, wouldn't
you be looking at the most high-profile web site out there discussing
what goes on in your agency, and in fact, largely involving
discussions among your own employees? Wouldn't you want to know what
kind of problems people have, but aren't willing to say in official
communications because they are afraid of losing their jobs?
Oh, no. Not Ramsey. For him, this is a thorn in his side which he
apparently wishes he could "do something about".
Guess what: there is something you can do about it. Read it, react to
it. Wanna really impress people? Post to it. At least have someone who
reports to you doing this if you can't be bothered yourself. Didn't
you learn back in kindergarten that covering your eyes doesn't make
things go away?
Friday, April 30, 2004, 2:39:47 PM, you wrote:
WOD> Gadfly Site Helps Police Vent Their Frustrations
WOD> Web Board Provides Anonymous Haven
WOD> By Del Quentin Wilber
WOD> Washington Post Staff Writer
WOD> Thursday, April 29, 2004; Page DZ03
WOD> Disgusted at what he felt was poor police response to his
WOD> mugging in late 2002, John Aravosis set up a Web site last year
WOD> to track the performance of the D.C. police and serve as a
WOD> sounding board for community complaints about officers.
WOD> The 40-year-old political consultant said he thought his
WOD> site would annoy the police department and perhaps spur the
WOD> agency into taking quicker action on crime. He never imagined
WOD> that www.safestreetsdc.com would become popular not only with
WOD> neighborhood groups but also with members of the department he
WOD> was complaining about: dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of police
WOD> Some even grew testy, Aravosis said, when the message board
WOD> vanished a few months ago and the activist took a break from
WOD> updating the site's news and commentary. The police had been
WOD> using the message board to voice the frustrations they face in
WOD> doing their jobs.
WOD> Last week, the three-month hiatus ended when Aravosis
WOD> upgraded the site's bulletin board and brought in a partner to
WOD> help him monitor discussion threads and post more news and other
WOD> Aravosis said he decided he could not abandon the volunteer
WOD> project because he grew to care about the plight of rank-and-file
WOD> officers and wanted to keep pressure on the agency's top brass to
WOD> fix crime and other problems.
WOD> "The problems we discovered were so severe in the agency
WOD> that we were not going to stop," Aravosis said. "We had done too
WOD> well in discovering way too much. It would have been a crime to
WOD> let it go away."
WOD> Union officials said they are glad that the site has resurfaced.
WOD> "We were always checking it out," said Sgt. Gregory I.
WOD> Greene, chairman of the D.C. police labor committee in the
WOD> Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1. "It's like the gossip column
WOD> for the police department, only with some truth. They go on the
WOD> site and find out what's happening."
WOD> The evolution of the site shows how anyone with an Internet
WOD> connection can become an advocate for local or national issues.
WOD> For years, Aravosis has worked as a political consultant
WOD> for national advocacy groups and lobbyists looking to reach
WOD> people online. In February -- while the police site was dormant
WOD> -- Aravosis created a Web page that posted letters from gay
WOD> rights supporters urging Mary Cheney, the vice president's
WOD> daughter, to speak out against a constitutional amendment banning
WOD> gay marriage. She is openly gay.
WOD> He began focusing sharply on the police department in
WOD> December 2002 because of what he considered to be a lackadaisical
WOD> response to his mugging, which took place that month as he walked
WOD> from his Adams Morgan apartment to a gym.
WOD> Soon, he was sending out e-mails about what happened to
WOD> others in his neighborhood. Within weeks, he had set up the Web
WOD> site intended to highlight the damage caused by lazy police
WOD> officers and poor law enforcement tactics. He even created a
WOD> bulletin board so that residents could chat with one another
WOD> about crime.
WOD> But an unexpected thing happened. Police officers took
WOD> control of the bulletin boards.
WOD> They began explaining their side of issues and complaining
WOD> about long shifts, mounds of paperwork, poor commanders and
WOD> Kafkaesque regulations.
WOD> As the complaints mounted, Aravosis began to shift his
WOD> pointed commentaries from the cops on the street to the police
WOD> administration -- especially Chief Charles H. Ramsey. He posted
WOD> crime statistics, complained about 911 response and criticized
WOD> the force for not solving enough homicide cases. At the same
WOD> time, he showcased examples of good police work, posting stories
WOD> about arrests by savvy police officers of burglars and other
WOD> criminals plaguing the city's neighborhoods.
WOD> For his part, Ramsey said he does not even look at the site.
WOD> "He has a right to put up a Web site," Ramsey said. "If
WOD> that is what he wants, a forum for that, there is nothing I can
WOD> do about it."
WOD> Police have yet to make an arrest in Aravosis's mugging --
WOD> but they did make an effort. They later arrested two juveniles
WOD> for a series of muggings in Adams Morgan and asked Aravosis to
WOD> view the suspects in a lineup. He was unable to identify his
WOD> attackers from among the suspects.
WOD> After Aravosis took his break from the Web site -- a task
WOD> he said often consumed eight hours a day -- he brought in a
WOD> volunteer, Dominic Sale, to help revive the discussions and
WOD> update the news. Sale, an Advisory Neighborhood Commission
WOD> representative in Mount Pleasant, said at least one audience will
WOD> be happy to see the site return: officers on the street.
WOD> "They felt like they had squatters' rights to it," Sale
WOD> said. "They have kept asking us about when it would come back."