Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced a plan to add an additional 170 officers at the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in the remainder of Fiscal Year 2021 and through Fiscal Year 2022.
“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. 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,” said Mayor Bowser. “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.”
MPD normally hires approximately 250 officers each year. Last year, after the DC Council reduced MPD’s budget by $15 million, the department was left with a near empty hiring pipeline, which had an immediate and significant impact on recruiting new police officers. As a result, this year, MPD has only been able to hire 42 officers: 21 cadets who became recruits, 12 reinstatements, 8 senior police officers, and one leadership official. Additionally, because of those reductions, MPD was unable to host any recruit classes at the Police Academy this year.
This summer, as residents across DC – and especially residents who live in neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence – continue to ask for a strong, sustained police presence, the Mayor directed MPD to use any overtime necessary to meet the city’s public safety needs.
To support the hiring of additional officers, the Mayor is sending an $11 million supplemental budget request to the Council this week to allow for the hiring and training of 20 additional officers in FY21 and 150 additional officers in FY22. This funding will support the immediate recruitment, hiring, and training of new officers; senior police officers who are retired and well-trained specialty officers, such as detectives, who can return to the force without penalty to their retirement; and rehires.
After the Mayor submits the request, the Council will review and vote on the request. If approved, the department will be able to begin making the necessary hires to close the gap between hiring and attrition as swiftly as possible. The hiring opportunity comes as the department is emphasizing a focused effort on improving police-community relations and requiring all divisions of the department to develop comprehensive community outreach plans. Most recently, MPD announced the launch of its Community-Focused Patrol Unit, which deploys officers on small motorcyles and bicycles to neighborhoods across the District for the purpose of building relationships with residents and businesses.