(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser sent the following letter to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Charles Allen, Chairperson of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety.
Dear Chairman Mendelson & Councilmember Allen:
Over the past year, the District of Columbia has been grappling with a sustained increase in gun violence. The terrible incidents of this past weekend, including the tragic murder of six-year old Nyiah Courtney, illustrates how far we still must go to address the brazen shooters in our neighborhoods.
As the Council requires that we report monthly on police overtime usage, and as you begin your summer recess, I write to notify you that I am directing the Metropolitan Police Department to use any overtime necessary to meet our public safety needs.
We have heard the calls from residents in our communities most impacted by gun violence: They want to see a strong, sustained police presence. 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 to justice those responsible for terrorizing our neighborhoods, threatening our families, and harming our residents. This will involve the full activation of the Summer Crime Prevention Initiative, engaging community members to build and deepen relationships, and maintaining the focus on getting illegal guns off our streets. Expanding and maintaining these increased police deployments in our communities during a year of no police hiring requires a corresponding increase in overtime. But while the use of overtime is a necessary tool, it is not an ideal solution as it results in the burnout of officers. The better solution is to fully staff our police force.
My Administration will continue to partner with the Council and our community members to keep our neighborhoods safe and hold accountable those who threaten our families and children.