WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - D.C.'s homicide detectives are having real trouble closing murder cases. So far this year just over a third of the killings have been closed by arrest. A statistic that's so alarmed city officials they have recruited the former chief of detectives to come back and help.
Robert Alder retired a few years ago and took a job with the National Football League working security alongside his former boss at the Metropolitan Police Department, Chief Cathy Lanier.
D.C. Mayor Bowser has endorsed the hire and says she does not look at it as a poor reflection on the detectives now in the city.
"I think it is proactive of the police department to always be developing and training staff to deal with our needs," said Bowser. "I think that the chief is taking the right steps at every level — Detectives, patrol officers, police leadership that we are giving our staff the development training and support they need to be successful."
According to the DC Police Department, there have been 146 murders in the city so far this year. At this time last year there were 141, but so far this year, homicide detectives have only been able to close 36 percent of those 146 murders, or just over a third.
When you include the murder cases closed from prior years, the closure rate is still only at 50 percent, compared to 2017 when detectives closed 71 percent of the cases.
Alder had a very successful career in the DC Police Department rising to the rank of assistant chief, but a few years ago he retired and left for the NFL. Now, he is coming back to work 15 to 20 hours a week for the next 10 weeks to see if he can help the police turn things around.
"Bob Alder was in charge of homicide detectives," said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue. "He was one of the best detectives this city has ever seen. He probably left too soon for us so he is going to come back and he is going to be an executive coach and he is going to do training to help the homicide detectives."
City officials say Alder will be paid at a rate of about $100 an hour or about the same amount he was making when he left the department.
"I think its a recognition that our closure rate is not where it needs to be," said Ward 6 Council Member Charles Allen who has oversight of the department. "I think that is MPD and the Mayor's team looking at creative ideas how to bring expertise back in I think that is a good thing."
Alder will be paid with funds from the DC Police Foundation. He did not respond to a request for comment.