The Dec. 6 editorial "What D.C. Emergency?" reflected an ignorance of the nature of crime in general and the crime of homicide specifically.

As chairman of the D.C. police labor committee for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1, I can tell you that our members take homicide very seriously. We spend more time with victims and their families, friends and neighbors than your paper's editorial writers do.

We investigate deaths and, when we are able to collect enough evidence and witnesses, we make arrests. Do not presume to tell us about the sad and tragic dimensions of murder.

Homicides usually can be classified as either being born of passion or the fruit of cold calculation. The latter are often associated with criminal enterprises and may be related to drug turf wars or gangs. But murders, be they carefully planned or carried out in the heat of a domestic dispute, are rarely deterred by police activity. Drug dealers and gang members plan their homicides to avoid the police. Murders of passion happen when logic and reason are replaced by emotion. Those emotions do not consider the presence of police or the consequences of the act.

The declaration of a crime emergency does nothing to deter murders. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in police overtime. We had expanded police presence on the streets when the District's highest murder rates were recorded. If Chief Charles Ramsey paid attention to communities east of the Anacostia River all year long and managed our manpower proactively instead of reactively, we wouldn't be a crisis-driven agency. We wouldn't be reduced to dramatic gestures by a chief of police who is as unfamiliar with our city today as he was when he first flew in from Chicago.

I was born and raised in Washington. I have seen some of my childhood friends murdered on our streets. If I and my fellow officers thought that more hours on the street would help, we would not complain. But Ramsey's crime emergency will waste millions of taxpayer dollars, and D.C. police officers will earn that money on the streets knowing that they can do little to prevent homicides.

-- Gregory I. Greene

Washington