Washington, DC's new police chief is considering reshaping a unit tasked with pulling hundreds of guns off city streets each year, saying the strategy creates tension with communities and detracts from a sharper focus on finding shooters.
Changing how the Gun Recovery Unit operates could address the concerns of critics who complain that the aggressive tactics of specialized plainclothes anti-crime squads are a primary source of mistrust between police and residents.
Acting Chief Robert J. Contee III said in an interview with the Washington Post that he wants to focus less on seizing as many firearms as possible and instead intensify efforts on identifying and arresting people who use guns for violence or threats.
“We have to think beyond just getting the gun,” he said. “Certainly we want to get guns off the street. But we got to get the right guns out of the wrong hands.”