NEWS CLUES: Like An Escort Service For The Truth

THE WOOD OF THE SUICIDES: Convicted DC Madame Kills Herself

suicide.gifA woman police believe to be convicted Washington escort service operator Deborah Jeane Palfrey committed suicide, officials said Thursday. Police said the body was found in a shed near Palfrey’s mother’s home Thursday morning. There was a suicide note, but police did not disclose its contents or how she killed herself. Palfrey was convicted April 15 by a federal jury of running a prostitution service that catered to members of Washington’s political elite, including Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican. She was convicted of money laundering, using the mail for illegal purposes and racketeering. Palfrey faced a maximum of 55 years in prison and was free pending her sentencing July 24. Her trial concluded without revealing many new details about the service or its clients. Vitter was among possible witnesses, but did not take the stand. Vitter, a first-term senator who is married and has four children, has acknowledged being involved with Palfrey’s escort service and has apologized for what he called a “very serious sin.” But he avoided commenting further. One of the escort service employees was former University of Maryland, Baltimore County, professor Brandy Britton, who was arrested on prostitution charges in 2006. She committed suicide in January before she was scheduled to go to trial. Last year, Palfrey said she, too, was humiliated by her prostitution charges, but said: “I guess I’m made of something that Brandy Britton wasn’t made of.” [via ASSOCIATED PRESS]


POLICE DEPARTMENT SHAKE-UP: More Boots On The Ground, Less Asses In Seats

wiggum.jpgPolice Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey is shaking up the department’s command today in advance of today’s planned announcement of a crime-fighting initiative to put more patrol officers on the streets as the weather warms. Less than four months into the job, Ramsey is initiating a major reorganization of the 6,600-officer department. He held individual meetings at his office this morning with a parade of high-level commanders. Sources said dozens of reassignments are expected. Commanders, some sullen with shoulders sagging, streamed out of the Police Administration Building to smoke cigarettes and to confer by cell phone with colleagues and family. In his crime-fighting plan announced in January, Ramsey had promised to shift 200 additional officers by today into nine police districts that experienced the greatest number of violent crimes. And this week, Ramsey announced the 135 officers in the Narcotics Strike Force would be attached to the Patrol Bureau, where they would focus on a broad range of offenses, including property crimes. Ramsey says he has initiated a department-wide review of special units with an aim of increasing the number of “generalists” who can be dispatched to fight a range of crimes and increase the department’s visibility. “To me, in my way of thinking, everything exists to support the patrol fuction,” Ramsey said in an interview on Tuesday. “Everything. If you don’t support the patrol function, I question why you exist.” The new initiatives may include some shift changes to concentrate more officers on the streets on summer weekend nights, when violent crime tends to peak. Ramsey and Nutter aim to reduce homicides by 100 this year and to cut violent crime by 20 percent. [via INQUIRER]


TRUE JERSEY: Cops Take Down 11-Year-Old Menace To Society

kidwithgun.jpgAn 11-year-old boy was charged with armed robbery last night after pointing a replica handgun at two children in what police said was an attempted holdup, police said. The boy brandished an airsoft pistol, aimed it at the heads of two children, and threatened to kill them if they didn’t give him money, said Gloucester Township police. The alleged victims, ages 8 and 10, said they were broke. The boy rode away on his bicycle into the Millbridge Apartments complex. Police located the boy, still in possession of the replica gun, shortly after at the complex. The boy, who was not identified because of his age, was charged with armed robbery and possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose, police said. [via INQUIRER]

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