POLICE chief defends department in Levy case

Sunday, July 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ District of Columbia Police Chief Charles Ramsey defended his department's handling of the Chandra Levy case, saying Sunday he is devoting the proper resources in the search for the missing intern.

The intense media attention has given the public a false impression that police are so engrossed in the search that they have little time to investigate crime and perform other duties, Ramsey said.

``Unfortunately, it does create a perception that we're obsessed with this case as a department,'' Ramsey told ABC's ``This Week.'' ``We're concerned, we're working very hard, but we've got a lot of cases and a lot of issues in the Metropolitan Police Department that we're addressing.''

Levy's disappearance May 1 has drawn such attention because a married congressman, Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., has told police the two had an affair.

``Half the people think we're doing too much, the other half think we're not doing enough. We're doing what we think is right in order to get to the bottom of this case,'' he said.

Recruits from the police academy have been scouring local parks searching for clues in recent weeks. Ramsey said they would cease doing that work at the end of the week and return to the academy to resume training.

The two lead detectives will continue the investigation, he said.

While leads continue to come in, ``unfortunately, they haven't really led us anywhere,'' Ramsey said on CBS' ``Face the Nation.''

``So we're no closer in finding out what happened to Chandra Levy today than we were when we first started this investigation.''

Asked about the chances of solving the case, Ramsey replied: ``It's still about 50-50. I'd like to be more optimistic than that. But I think I'm being very generous at 50-50.''

Ramsey said on NBC's ``Meet the Press'' that he has not been involved before ``in anything like this, with absolutely no tips and clues.''