Since a disturbing rise in violent crime has become impossible to ignore in Washington, D.C. the city’s mayor is trying to correct the problem in the only way possible. Hiring more police. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is advocating to hire at least 170 new police officers after previously pushing to defund police departments across the city.
According to The Washington Examiner:
The Metropolitan Police Department normally brings on 250 new officers a year, though in fiscal year 2021, top brass was only able to gain 42 officers: 21 cadets who later become recruits, 12 reinstatements, eight senior officers, and one leadership official after local leaders in June 2020 voted to slash $15 million from its budget, Bowser said. Since the dip in hirings, members of the force have been working overtime to make up for a lack of officers.
“Right now, I have directed MPD to use any overtime necessary to meet our public safety demands. But we know that is not a complete solution or the right long-term solution,” the Democratic mayor said in a statement on Wednesday. “We also know we need all of our officers to be fresh, rested, and in the best position to make good decisions — and that requires having a full force to meet all of our community’s needs. The department is in a good position to make additional hires and move swiftly to close the gap between attrition and hiring, and that’s what this plan is going to help us do.”
The slash in funding prevented MPD from hosting “any recruit classes at the Police Academy this year,” even as residents “continue to ask for a strong, sustained” law enforcement presence amid a perceived rise in “gun violence,” Bowser said.
To support the hiring of officers, the mayor will send an $11 million supplemental budget for the purpose of training and hiring 20 additional officers in fiscal year 2021 and another 150 in fiscal year 2022.
The budget increase will have to be approved by the city council. The move after the nation’s capital has seen a drastic spike in homicides and violent carjackings.