The D.C. Council will vote Tuesday on plans to increase police funding.
Mayor Muriel Bowser asked the council to approve $11 million for the hiring and training of 170 new Metropolitan Police Department officers over the next two years.
A police budget reduction of $15 million in fiscal year 2021 harmed police recruitment, she argued last week. MPD usually brings on about 250 new officers per year. This year, they’ve had only 42 uniformed hires. Police departments across the country have reported trouble recruiting and retaining officers.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Charles Allen, who is chair of the public safety committee, offered a compromise. Their $11 million plan would dedicate $5 million to more officers and $6 million to violence interruption programs and Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Leadership Academies.
“Council members support a combination of strategies to reduce violent crime. The solution can’t solely be more police,” Mendelson said in a statement. “If you think about it, relying only on police is a reactive strategy. Police respond to incidents of violence. On the other side, violence interrupters are proactive. Interrupters work in the neighborhoods, know the people most likely to beef, and calm tensions before retaliatory shootings can occur.”
Here’s how Mendelson’s office broke down where the $11 million would go:
- “$5 million in funding for additional sworn officers to reduce overtime pressures and maintain the Department’s hiring pipeline”
- “Double the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement’s (ONSE) Leadership Academies – which provide wrap-around services, mentorship, and restorative practices to high-risk students within District high schools”
- “Add an additional $1.9 million for violence interrupters through ONSE”
- “Fund four new Cure the Streets violence interruption sites through the Office of the Attorney General.”
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.