23 D.C. cops were arrested this year, on charges including murder

(Photo: Associated Press)

Everyone knows the old cliché, "There's never a cop when you need one," but beware what you ask for: 23 D.C. police officers have been arrested in 2011 for crimes including sexual assault, defrauding an elderly woman, sex with a 13-year-old, and the murder of a mother and her 1-year-old daughter.

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Given the severity and scope of the crimes committed by those who swore to uphold the law, many are questioning whether candidates are adequately screened. In a recent case, an officer allegedly was drunk when he jumped on a car and started shooting at the people inside; he was known to have a history of alcohol problems.

Comparing the city to New Orleans, Samuel Walker, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska, tells the Examiner that he was astonished to hear of the level of corruption here. Citing a DOJ investigation of the police department that led to reforms years ago, Walker said, "That should have taken care of a lot of these things. You have to ask, what has happened?"

Police Chief Cathy Lanier sees it differently, insisting that "the public should be encouraged by the fact [that] MPD has uncovered some of the misconduct internally, which demonstrates that the Metropolitan Police Department has a culture of integrity."

There are, by the way, more than 3,800 officers in the city, so your chances of getting an honest one are still very good.

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