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Local attorney for DC officer's union says Navy Yard understaffed

WASHINGTON -- Union officials for officers at the Washington Navy Yard said their response to Mondays shooting was hampered because of budget cuts.

Guilderland attorney Stephen De Nigris is chief legal counsel to the Fraternal Order of Police, Naval District Washington Labor Committee, and said five officers were working the gates. The chief of police was the only one in patrol in the departments only patrol car. The other officers had to run at least a half-mile to the scene.

"There's no doubt in my mind with half the response time, better radios with police cars, better manning, there's no doubt in my mind some of those people could have been saved," said De Nigris.

The union says at least 12 officers should have been working that day. De Nigris has complained in the past about malfunctioning radios. He believes sequestration resulted in many of their vehicles being taken away.

The Navy issued the following statement when asked about staffing at the Navy Yard:

"We are aware of the unions claims and they will be looked into as part of a review ordered by Secretary Mabus"

De Nigris remained skeptical any change would occur.

"I've dealt with them for the last 15 years and it's a lot of smoke and mirrors, " said De Nigris.  "They're all looking to cut costs and it seems that police services and security takes a back seat as you're coming to the cost cutting axe on this thing."
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