A citizens advisory panel headed by the Episcopal bishop of Washington reasserted its support yesterday for a controversial decision by the D.C. police department to issue "hollow-point" bullets to City police officers.
"We believe matters such as this should be left to the discretion of the chief of police," the Rt. John T. Walker said at a news conference at D.C. police headquarters yesterday.
The statement by Bishop Walker, who is chairman of the 12-member Police Chief's Citizens Advisory Council, was prompted by a D.C. City Council move to restrict the use of hollowpoint bullets. A Council committee approved a bill last month that would prohibit hollow points as standard ammunition for police officers, while permitting police to use hollow points in some special circumstances.
Hollow-point bullets have been issued to D.C. police officers since last January as a replacement for roundnose bullets, which previously were the department's standard ammunition. The police department contends that hollow points have more "stopping power" than do round-nose bullets.
The hollow points, police officials argue, are more likely to halt a criminal in his tracks and prevent him from firing back at a police officer.
Bishop Walker asserted that it would be a mistake for the City Council to remove the police chief's authority to decide what form of ammuinition should be issued to police officers.