The Metro Transit Police Department (MPD) did not properly investigate more than 3,000 criminal complaints, including those about robberies, sexual offenses, kidnappings, filed between 2010 and 2017, according to a report issued by Metro’s Inspector General.
The report that became public on Thursday was originally sent to General Manager Paul Wiedefeld on May 13.
The approximately 3,110 victim and general complaints involving crimes allegedly committed on the transit system over the course of a seven-year period falls within the jurisdiction of the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD).
Of those complaints, Metro Transit Police only managed to produce “minimal documentation” for 1,445 of the complaints, the investigation by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has revealed. About 84 percent of the Department’s investigative files didn’t have any documentation.
OIG stated it attempted to recover all 3,110 investigative files multiple times since it launched its investigation in 2020.
“After six months, multiple suspense deadlines, and given the significant decrease in the volume of investigative case files being produce by MTPD, the OIG closed its investigation with MTPD’s limited production of investigative files,” the report said.
“MTPD staff’s failure to properly and accurately maintain investigative files, evidence, and/or associated judicial records obstructed OIG’s ability to determine if Detectives ignored victim complaints between 2010 and 2017,” it was added.
OIG made a series of recommendations to MTPD, including:
- Train and develop management staff so they gain experience in conducting, managing, and leading criminal investigations that are thorough, legally sufficient for a prosecutor, impartial, objective, timely, accurate and complete
- Develop a policy that requires Detectives to meet or exceed the highest investigative standards, be responsive to all victim complaints, and be held accountable when their performance fails to meet those standards
- Develop a process that allows for periodic review of CID case files at various management levels to ensure compliance with investigative policies and procedures;
- Develop protocols for independent annual or bi-annual inspections reviews to ensure compliance with appropriate policies and procedures;
- Develop a process that tracks the amount of cases CID opened in a fiscal year and how many of those cases were properly dispositioned to ensure any remaining open cases are made a priority
- Direct MTPD to complete their internal audit and provide management and the OIG with their assessment of these matters;
- Develop written standards for investigative case file management, both hard copy and electronic, addressing what documentation must be included in an investigative case file including, but not limited to, evidence collection, ERs, record of interviews, notes of interviews, documentation contacting the witnesses and victims, documentation of efforts made to investigate the allegations and consultation with prosecutors, if applicable, and retention;
- Retrain Detectives and CID supervisors on case management, and investigative steps
- Require regular updates of CID’s SOP
- Require that case file reviews and management are timely and prioritize the logical progress of the investigation instead of closure rates
In response to the report, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) issued a release, saying Metro Transit Police have updated its investigation procedures since 2017.
The full statement is as follows:
“Since 2017, Metro Transit Police has implemented a number of initiatives for the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), including adopting new policies and procedures, mandating the use of an automated record keeping system, and creating a new case management process, in addition to changing leadership. Today, cases are investigated by detectives in accordance with standard operating procedures that are similar to those used by peers in surrounding jurisdictions. Additionally, Metro Transit Police management conducts reviews of all CID cases on a regular, recurring basis. Metro Transit Police has and continues to follow-up on the cases noted in the report.”