Okay, here's a thing we can all do. The City Council is struggling with how to defund or reorient the MPD. Yesterday they passed an emergency bill and you can read about it here:
These measures are ONLY IN PLACE FOR 90 DAYS. That's three months, which is not enough time to get these pieces through the MPD's systems, nor is it enough time to understand if these changes are working.
I realize that's not an encouraging statement, but the culture of the DC MPD is not going to change in 90 days. And their union is not going to give up the Mayor's proposed $45 million-dollar increase without a massive fight.
We've cut education, mental health and violence de-escalation funding year over year over year. Mayor after Mayor after Mayor has increased the MPD's responsibilites and budget. The MPD can handle both reduced responsibilities AND a reduced budget.
What we need to do is show up at the June 16th council hearing for JPSH and:
- voice our support for re-directing a majority of the MPD funding into our city's existing violence interruption programs: Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement and the Attorney General's Office Cure the Streets.
- make it clear we want social workers and mental health professionals who reflect the school system’s demographics in ALL our public and charter schools.
- demand a recurring line-budget item of $60 million per year for investing JUST IN OUR PUBLIC HOUSING REPAIRS, instead of adding more police as the OAG has requested. The current budget will only help 400 of the 2,600 units the Housing Authority identified as needing “extremely urgent” repairs.
We also need to speak up loudly for better workforce development and training, for all ages and especially in light of the tremendous impact COVID-19 has had on our restaurant and entertainment workers. Four intake locations and about 400 jobs is not going to cut it, and never has.
Dream bigger, DC. Ask for more. Keep up the pressure.
The hearing for the budget of the MPD is remote, and here's how to get on the witness list: