A preliminary report on allegations that some crimes were improperly reported in Washington's 6th Police District concludes that district commander Issac Fulwood's directive to report some major crimes as minor violations broke no departmental rules.
The report, written by Marty Tapscott, the assistant chief in charge of field operations, says that Fulwood's approach to reporting some crimes differed from that taken elsewhere in the department.
But a five-month investigaton "has not revealed any evidence that a crime report was falsely written with the intent to defraud the system," the report says.
In addition, Tapscott says, "Deputy Chief Fulwood did not gain any benefits, i.e., reduction in crime, because of his reclassification of crime reports."
The report to Police Chief Maurice T. Turner, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, summarizes a 130-page report on crime reporting activities since Fulwood took command of the 6th District in far Northeast and Southeast Washington. Tapscott declined comment on the report yesterday.
Tapscott writes that the number of 6th District reports in which crimes were reclassified was high when compared to most other districts, but not high enough to significantly alter the overall crime rate in the area.
Fulwood's "interpretation of report writing procedures in and of itself is not unprecedented," Tapscott says. "The main difference between his position and those of many other commanders is the degree of implementation."
The investigation into 6th District crime reporting was launched last year when the Fraternal Order of Police, the bargaining unit for rank-and-file officers, alleged that Fulwood and officials under his command ordered subordinates to adopt new crime reporting standards and changed reports systematically in an attempt to show a reduction in crime.
The FOP also complained that a veteran detective in the district, Raymond C. Dyer, summarily was transferred to the motor scooter squad when he objected to the new crime reporting policy and complained to the FOP.
According to Tapscott's memorandum, Deputy Chief Roland Perry of the Youth Division, who took over the investigation in December, has recommended that several top officials at the 6th District be disciplined and transferred for giving false statements to investigators, and that Dyer be reinstated to his former post.
Tapscott agrees with Perry's assertion that "managerial problems exist in the 6th District." But he recommends that no disciplinary action be taken because the investigation has led to "very serious morale problems throughout" the district's ranks, and because "the cases appear moot and thin in merit."
"Also, since the investigation has failed to disclose any maliciousness, charges of false statements would lend credence to innuendoes that the investigation was nothing more than a witch hunt," Tapscott says.
In one of several recommendations that are at odds with those of Perry, Tapscott recommends that Dyer remain in the motor scooter squad because he ignored police procedures when he took his complaint to the FOP.
Tapscott's report was submitted to Turner last week, but was returned by the chief for "some minor clarifications." A police spokesman said yesterday that Tapscott was continuing to revise the memorandum and that the chief had no immediate comment on the report.
According to Tapscott, the lengthy police investigation, in which more than 200 persons were interviewed, revealed 18 crime reports containing discrepencies "based solely on 6th District policy."
At issue was whether some crimes considered Part I or "serious" crimes should be reported as lesser, Part II crimes. This includes, for instance, burglaries, which are Part I offenses, being reported as destruction of property, a Part II offense.
To be considered a Part I crime, there must be "specific intent." In most instances, law enforcement officials assume specific intent. If, for instance, a door has been jimmied open while no one is at home or a car trunk lock punched out, it is assumed that the intent was to take something from inside and the incident is reported as a burglary.
Fulwood's approach did not assume specific intent and, absent additional evidence, the crime was classified as a Part II offense, either breaking and entering or destruction of property.
Of 1,579 crime reports submitted from the 6th District during July, August and September last year, the first three months of Fulwood's command, 64, or 4.05 percent, were changed, the investigation found.
That figure was nearly double those of every other police district but the 7th District in far Southeast, where changes were made in 3.58 percent of all crime reports submitted.
The investigation itself generated charges of bias from several sources. Black officers in the 6th District complained that they had been harassed by white investigators. FOP officials, meanwhile, charged that cronyism precluded a fair report and vowed an independent investigation if Fulwood were exonerated.
The investigation also pointed up a department-wide problem of achieving conformity with FBI standards of crime reporting.
That concern surfaced earlier from the department's head of data processing, Inspector Charles J. Shuster. Shuster reported that statistics compiled in the field "rarely, if ever, coincide with the department's final crime statistics."