Washington, D.C. Police Department Is Hemorrhaging Officers Amid Rising Crime Rates

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Posted: May 04, 2021 12:40 PM
Washington, D.C. Police Department Is Hemorrhaging Officers Amid Rising Crime Rates

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The union that represents the officers in Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department announced in a press release on Monday 313 officers have left the force within the last year, highlighting how another city in the U.S. is dealing with retention problems amid rising crime rates.

The D.C. Police Union's press release said one of the most disturbing aspects about the mass exodus of officers is almost half, 49 percent, "have just turned in their badge and walked away. The total strength of the rank-and-file is less than 3,300, the lowest number in decades."

The Union says one of the main reasons for officers leaving the department stems from the D.C. City Council passing emergency police reform legislation last year following the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. At the time the police union said their officers were overwhelmingly opposed to the legislation and warned crime was going to rise as a result of the reforms.

"Many of our members have voiced that that Bill eliminates collective bargaining rights for employees, it makes it exceedingly more difficult to charge a suspect with assaulting a police officer, it changes body worn camera policy in such a way that is can no longer be used as an evidence collection tool, and it changes the language in use of force policy in the most utterly confusing way that even the Councilmembers could not figure out the intent or the impact of the language," the Union's June statement said, according to Fox 5.

Elements of the police reform legislation include:

  • Names of officers and body-worn camera footage released within 72 hours
  • Gives disciplinary process to the mayor
  • Prohibits munitions during peaceful demonstrations

Today, the Union says their predictions have come to pass.

"This increase in crime can only be attributed to the implementation of the police reform bill and its chilling effect on professional and responsible policing. Other major cities that have passed similar legislation have also experienced mass exits and crime surges," the Union said.

Some city wards, such as Wards 2 and 3, have seen a 300 percent increase in homicides, while others are up 80 percent since June of last year.