Mayor Marion Barry, flanked by police officials, stood in the rain last night at the site of a recent slaying in far Southeast to announce the detailing of more police to the area to combat the drug traffic.
Between 40 and 50 officers from the Special Operations Division will be assigned immediately to the 7th Police District, Barry said as he and police officials huddled under umbrellas. Many of the recent shootings described as drug related have occurred in the 7th District.
The mayor also pointed to a police squad car, saying it was the first officer's cruiser to carry a shotgun under a new plan to step up police firepower.
Police Chief Maurice T. Turner Jr. said Tuesday that all squad cars will soon be equipped with shotguns.
"We want to hurry up and make a dent in this drug problem," said Barry.
Barry made his announcement at Southern Avenue and Chesapeake Streets SE, where Bobby Larnell Parker Jr. was killed Monday night. Parker, a known drug dealer and convicted burglar, was ambushed and shot to death in a contract killing by four men who surrounded his car at a stoplight, police have said.
The mayor called for more community cooperation to help police solve such cases.
Barry said in an interview with WRC-TV (Channel 4) that he eventually will add 100 officers to the 332 assigned to the 7th District.
The mayor said he plans to use other tactics, including more police helicopters in the area. He declined to specify the tactics, saying it would tip off the drug traffickers.
Nearly 300 of the department's 3,880 officers are on light duty or extended sick leave, Barry said. "If we could find a way to get those people either retired or back to active duty, that's the force that we're missing."
After his brief statement, Barry and an entourage of police cruisers drove to the nearby 900 block of Varney Street SE where some of the newly detailed officers were conducting a roadblock.
"The mayor wanted to show a police presence," Turner said.
Council member Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8), head of the committee that oversees the police, had written to Barry Wednesday asking for more police in her ward, which includes the 7th District.
"I'm happy about the 40 officers," Rolark said last night on Varney Street. "It's a good effort."
The police union has called for addition of 500 officers to the force to combat increased drug-related violence.
Staff writer Tom Sherwood contributed to this report.