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Police group: Voters should dump Arlington prosecutor

Organization: 'We cannot sit idly by while she intentionally misleads the public.'
/Metro Creative

The professional association representing Arlington police rank-and-file has come out in support of challenger Josh Katcher in the race for commonwealth’s attorney.

In a statement, the Arlington Coalition of Police said incumbent Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is anti-police and has been using statistics in a misleading way to attempt to smear efforts of officers.

“Ms. Tafti has had four years to work together with the Arlington County Police Department in a collaborative manner, but has failed to do so,” leaders of the organization said. “Each time she had the chance, she has thrown officers under the bus.”

The organization was attempting to stay out of the contentious race, its leadership said, but felt the need to weigh in after remarks by Tafti during the recent Arlington County Civic Federation debate.

“Ms. Tafti’s claim of a ‘healthy’ relationship with the rank-and-file [of the police department] could not be any further from the truth,” the organization said. “Although that current working relationship is extremely poor, we worried that any statement would make the relationship even worse. [However,] we cannot sit idly by while she intentionally misleads the public.”

At the Civic Federation forum, Tafti on more than one occasion suggested that the blame for higher crime rests with police, as officers were catching fewer people. Her office, she contended, couldn’t prosecute criminals the police did not arrest.

That statement does not take into account changes to state law, which has led to a large decline in the number of marijuana arrests, the Arlington Coalition of Police shot back. Factor out that change, and the number of arrests by police “is the highest it has been for at least six years,” the organization said.

Katcher is not a perfect candidate, the Arlington Coalition of Police acknowledged in its statement, but any office run by him “will communicate effectively with officers about cases . . . and see prosecutions as the collaborative effort that they are.”

Katcher already had received the endorsement of the union representing county firefighters as he and Dehghani-Tafti race to the finish in the June 20 primary.