From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.
The D.C. Council rejected two proposals from Mayor Vincent Gray that would have provided funding to add 100 officers to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD; see coverage from The Washington Post and The Washington Examiner). Council Chairman Phil Mendelson had expressed his intention to vote down the measures prior to Tuesday’s legislative meeting.
Mayor Gray had requested hiring 48 officers by reallocating an extra $1.7 million in the budget. The other 52 officers would have been funded with money from traffic camera fines.
Mendelson felt the mayor was rushing the proposal and that current MPD force numbers are sufficient. He also encouraged MPD to continue to use civilianization as a means of putting more sworn officers on the street.
MPD Chief Cathy Lanier mentioned Borderstan neighborhoods in a letter to Mendelson on Monday asking him to reconsider his stance prior to Tuesday’s votes:
During the past year, we have conducted a comprehensive analysis of ongoing development throughout the city. The historical lessons we have learned from areas such as Chinatown and Columbia Heights suggest that several other areas of development will experience an upward trajectory in Workload — both calls for service and crime…Several other areas — including the H Street corridor, U Street and 14th Street NW, CityCenterDC, DuPont Circle, Adams Morgan, and the St. Elizabeth’s campus, to name a few — are undergoing substantial amounts of new or continued development. All of these areas will have a significant impact on police services. Our analysis has made it clear that due to the dense development, the areas will demand a different type of police deployment — more foot, bike, and Segway patrols, which are not able to cover as large of an area” (emphasis added).
Mendelson did agree to revisit the issue in 2013. Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) was the only councilmember to vote for the reallocation of funds to hire 48 officers. The Council unanimously rejected using traffic camera fine money to hire more cops.