Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced in a letter Monday that she is directing the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to use overtime in order to address growing violence in the nation’s capital.
Bowser said the city is facing a “sustained increase in gun violence” and cited incidents this past weekend, such as the killing of 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney and a shooting outside Nationals Park. In the letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Charles Allen, the Democratic mayor called on MPD to use “any overtime necessary to meet our public needs.”
“We have heard the calls from residents in our community most impacted by gun violence: They want to see a strong, sustained police presence,” Bowser said. “They do not feel safe while the threat of gun violence looms. My charge to our police officers is to keep our communities safe and bring justice to those responsible for terrorizing our neighborhoods.”
— Muriel Bowser (@MurielBowser) July 19, 2021
The D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety cut more than $9.5 million from Bowser’s proposed $578 million police budget for the 2021 fiscal year, WUSA reported. D.C. also reduced the police department’s budget by $15 million in 2020 following Black Lives Matter protests, according to The Washington Post.
Cities across the country have struggled to address rising violent crime since 2020. Many of the cities with record-high crime rates also reduced police budgets, with a number of police departments noting both a lack of resources and diminished morale.
The D.C. Police Union on Sunday blamed elected officials for the city’s spike in violent crime. Union chairman Gregg Pemberton said Monday on the Vince Coglianese Show that local officials have enacted police reforms without consulting law enforcement, resulting in a wave of violent crime. (RELATED: DC Black Lives Matter Puts Down DC Police Union With Baseless Claims As Violence In Nation’s Capital Escalates)
“The city council here in the District of Columbia has been legislating away all of the tools — the responsible, professional, constitutional tools — that police officers use to keep this kind of violence out of our city,” Pemberton said.