A Sept. 21 Metro in Brief item incorrectly described the findings of a report on the U.S. Park Police. The report did not recommend increasing resources. The National Academy of Public Administration's report outlined steps for the Park Police to use in reassessing priorities amid changing law enforcement needs. The report warned that without such a priority-setting process, substantial new resources could be needed. (Published 9/22/04)
More Resources Urged for Park Police
U.S. Park Police need a "substantial increase in resources" to operate effectively, according to a recent report issued on behalf of a congressional appropriations subcommittee.
"Given its heightened responsibilities after 9/11 for the protection of the nation's most important icons and urban national parks, [the Park Police] cannot be an effective guardian of urban national parks and also attempt to be a full-service urban police force without a substantial increase in resources," said the report by the National Academy of Public Administration, an independent organization chartered by Congress to help government agencies be more effective. The report also suggested using non-sworn officers for such duties as parking enforcement.
Teresa C. Chambers was placed on administrative leave in December and formally fired as Park Police chief in July for speaking out about the need for more resources. She is contesting her firing.
Sgt. Scott Fear, a spokesman for the Park Police, said Acting Chief Dwight Pettiford wanted to discuss the report with Congress before commenting publicly.
Three Cited as 'Blue Ribbon Schools'
Three District elementary schools have been designated as high-performing "blue-ribbon schools," the Department of Education announced yesterday.
Langdon Elementary School in Northeast and Lafayette and Janney elementary schools in Northwest were among more than 250 schools across the country named 2004 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools.
Schools are selected because they have made significant progress in closing their achievement gaps or because their students consistently achieve at very high levels, the department said.
Under the federal law known as No Child Left Behind, schools must meet adequate yearly progress in reading/language arts and math. Each state sets its academic standards and benchmark goals.
Audit Says Mismanagement Cost Millions
The D.C. Department of Human Services and the Office of Early Childhood Development wasted millions of dollars in District and federal dollars because it mismanaged funds for a subsidized day-care and after-school program for low-income children, D.C. Auditor Deborah K. Nichols said in a report released yesterday.
Over a two-year period, in 2001 and 2002, city officials lost $6.4 million, including $4.8 million that was overpaid to child-care providers and $1 million that the D.C. schools could have generated if they had not opened the subsidized program to all students, regardless of whether their parents could afford to pay.
Nichols said she will conduct a follow-up audit in 90 days to see if city officials are now in compliance.
Election Worker Is Disqualified
An election worker who last week let CBS news examine a touch-screen voting machine in defiance of state and local officials was disqualified yesterday from working at Montgomery County polling locations on Nov. 2, a spokeswoman for the county Board of Elections said.
The board voted 2 to 1 to remove Stan Boyd, 63, as an election judge, spokeswoman Marjorie Roher said. Officials discussed Boyd's status behind closed doors before the vote and did not publicly say why they were removing him.
Boyd borrowed the machine from the county board for a Sept. 12 demonstration at the Takoma Park folk festival, where he has said it may not have functioned properly. Board representatives called him the next day, after media reports of the possible malfunction surfaced, demanding that he return the machine. Boyd refused, eventually explaining that he intended to let an expert hired by the CBS program "60 Minutes" examine it.
The board recovered the machine last Tuesday after obtaining a court order. Boyd has said the CBS expert had by then already examined it. The board has said that the machine was a "demonstration unit" and that it did not contain the software and security safeguards that are in the actual machines.
Boyd's attorney, Daniel Williams, would not comment on the ruling, saying, "The critical issue here is not what happens to an elections judge but the fact that the board is unwilling to confront the serious accountability issues with its electronic voting machines." As an election judge, Boyd would have made $130 on Election Day to do such things as greet voters and show them to the machines.
Crash Shuts Down I-95 in Howard County
A crash involving two tractor-trailer rigs shut down part of Interstate 95 in Howard County for several hours yesterday morning.
One rig rear-ended the other about 4:30 a.m. in the northbound lanes just north of Route 100, authorities said. The driver of the rear truck, James Young, 54, of Glen Allen, Va., was trapped in his cab. Traffic backed up about four miles in the southbound lanes, but less than a mile in northbound lanes, police said.
Young's injuries were not life-threatening, police said. The other driver suffered minor injuries. The crash is under investigation.
King Street Station Improvements
Ground was broken yesterday on $16 million in improvements to the King Street Station in Alexandria, Metro officials announced.
Plans call for a new station mezzanine, an elevated walkway that will cross Commonwealth Avenue at Cameron Street, a new canopy, elevators and stairway, a new station kiosk and Farecard machines. The improvements were in part motivated by the new 15-acre Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, which will ultimately provide office space for more than 7,300 employees, half of whom are expected to use Metro.
Woman Fatally Hit by Garbage Truck
An unidentified woman was killed yesterday morning when she was hit by a garbage truck as she tried to walk across a residential street in Reston while speaking on a cellular phone, Fairfax County police said.
The woman is believed to have been in her early thirties, police said. She was walking across Silentwood Lane, just north of South Lakes Drive, about 10:20 a.m., and talking on her phone when she apparently walked into the path of a garbage truck that was backing up, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the truck was not charged.
"It happened so fast . . . I'm angry, but I'm happy that I got my family out. There is some damage to the house, but at least we didn't lose it."
-- James Thomas, who said he saw a flickering light outside
his Northeast bedroom window, extinguished an arson fire and made
sure his older relatives were well. -- Page B3
Compiled from reports by staff writers David A. Fahrenthold, Annie Gowen, Tom Jackman, Allan Lengel, Valerie Strauss and Yolanda Woodlee.