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Tipsheet

DC Police Manpower and Crime Off to a Grim Start for 2023

D.C. Metropolitan Police

There was something noticeable for one of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) recent class size of new officers. There were only 11 graduates. Prior to 2020, the average graduating class had around 20-30 people. MPD opted for something different with the next set of classes.

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"They graduated two classes together because it was embarrassing to graduate a class prior with only 11 recruits so for optics they graduated the next two classes together to make it look full," a source within MPD told Townhall.

The low recruitment numbers are despite the nation's capital offering increased salaries, starting at $66,419, and many bonuses, up to $20,000 with an additional $6,000 for rent. MPD is supposed to have 3,800 officers. Today, they only have around 3,300.

"We believe the true number is just above 3,200 officers but the department says 3,300," the source explained. "On average, the department is losing 20+ sworn members per month due to resignations and retirements."

The D.C. Police Union even went as far as to warn officers in different departments who are considering taking the job in D.C. since the lateral bonus offer should be approached "with skepticism. Things are not what they seem and the sales pitch is laden with misinformation."

The MPD source also said there is major concern with the quality of people who do decide to join. Standards have been lowered because the department desperately needs officers to replace those who have left or retired. Concerns about the quality of recruits is not just a D.C. problem. Departments across the country have had to lower their standards within the past few years as the environment officers work in have degraded since the BLM riots and Defund the Police movement.

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Law enforcement supporters point to the recent Tyre Nichols case, where five black Memphis officers severely beat him after a traffic stop and he died in the hospital three days later, as an example of what can happen when standards are lowered. It has since been learned two of the five officers became officers after the hiring process was relaxed.

All of this is occurring while certain serious crimes are off to a strong start in the city in 2023. There have been 18 homicides in D.C. as of Thursday. During the same time last year, that number was 15. Motor vehicle thefts are at 588, 81 percent higher than the same time last year, 324. Theft from auto is up 20 percent. So far, robbery has dipped from 271 in 2022 to 209.

The city council recently voted to override D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower's veto of their soft-on-crime bill, which reduces penalties for crimes such as carjacking, burglary, and illegal gun possession. The bill received heavy pushback from the D.C. Police Union.

"All of the misguided and crippling police reform enacted by the D.C. Council has created a mass exodus of good, hardworking police officers who no longer want to work under reforms that destroy their constitutional rights, all the while subjected to attacks by emboldened criminals and activists through their pro-criminal policies," said Adam Shaatal, chief steward for the Criminal Investigations Division. "The anti-police movement has undoubtedly made the District of Columbia more dangerous for the citizens who reside in the District."

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UPDATE: MPD provided the following statement to Townhall after publication.

"Combining graduations is not out of the ordinary and has been done on previous occasions to accommodate scheduling for resources and availability of involved parties that are required for the graduations. Our hiring standards have remained consistent over the years."

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