The “Force of 4,200 - Police Officer Recruitment and Retention Emergency Act of 2017” is a complete and total distraction from important issues of Public Safety. 

The Act suggests that increasing the number of police officers is critical to public safety. In fact no such evidence, other than anecdotal statements by the police, actually provides support for this assertion. It is 100% clear, after over three years of consistent and fact-based critique from the Movement for Black Lives, that there are serious issues with racial bias, violence, and a clear lack of accountability as it regards the Metropolitan Police Department.

The Movement for Black Lives is deeply concerned with public safety issues. In fact the Movement for Black Lives was the first to raise in a public forum, in early 2015, concerns with increased community violence, and the first to propose a comprehensive solution.

We put forward the adoption of a violence interruption program in Washington D.C.. Programs like these empower community members to directly mediate potential violent situations before they happen. Academic studies have tested similar programs in a few cities with important results.

District leaders are ignoring evidence-based solutions and practices, even ones they had previously endorsed, in favor of a non-evidence-based solutions that rehash old methods of social control that led to the mass incarceration and rampant police murders we see today. They appear more interested in cheap headline grabbing than in moving forward a public safety agenda that respects the rights of residents traditionally most victimized by police misconduct.

The D.C. Council should immediately withdraw this legislation, and demand full funding of the NEAR Act in FY 2018.