Mayor Bowser says DC council is cutting back on plan for more police

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday criticized the council’s public safety committee, saying it did not fully support its proposal for more police officers.

The DC Council’s public safety committee submitted a budget plan detailing how it intends to spend more than $1.7 billion, but DC Mayor Muriel Bowser slammed the committee Thursday, saying it did not fully support his proposal for more police.

“I sent the council a package that included the funding to hire 347 officers while retaining high-quality, experienced officers who already know our community,” Bowser said. “If we can’t do both, we will lose ground and the number of police will continue to decline.”

According to Bowser’s office, the committee made a number of cuts to the mayor’s funding recommendations, including slashing its recruiting and retention incentives plan for new officers by nearly $4 million.

“DC residents have been very clear: they don’t want a further reduction in the number of officers at the MPD,” Bowser said. “Residents want the MPD to have the staff it needs to keep neighborhoods safe – and we need the full package to do that.”

The mayor’s comments prompted a combative response from Ward 6 council member Charles Allen, chairman of the public safety committee.

“We are two months away today from an important date in our city, so it is an obvious choice to try to start a conflict where there is none,” Allen said in a statement. , suggesting that Bowser was playing politics because she faces a primary. election in June.

“I prefer to seek common ground and keep politics out of politics,” Allen said. “Council is not the mayor’s rubber stamp.”

Allen noted that the committee’s budget plan, which is now up for review by the entire DC Council, “fully funds every new officer” that Bowser called for when she said the district should hire 347 officers. . Bowser said it would help improve 911 response times and increase officer presence in city neighborhoods.

The police department’s current strength – about 3,500 sworn officers – is at its lowest level in two decades.

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