In what appeared at first glance to be a case of political posturing, Arlington leaders Monday evening removed county police from helping patrol the streets of the District of Columbia, reneging on a mutual-aid agreement while federal and local law enforcement was attempting to keep order in the nation’s capital.
At the behest of the County Board, County Manager Mark Schwartz ordered the removal of the police at 8:30 p.m. Monday, 90 minutes after a curfew imposed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser went into effect.
“The county is re-evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety, and that of the people around them, for a purpose not worthy of our mutual-aid obligations,” county officials said in a terse Tuesday-morning statement announcing, but not quite explaining, their decision.
What impact such a decision to unilaterally pull out of longstanding agreements could have, if civil disturbances should spread to Arlington, remains unclear and was not addressed by county leaders.
– Scott McCaffrey