Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced plans to hire 170 new police officers in response to recent shootings, despite her past support of defunding the police.
“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,” Bowswer said in a statement on Wednesday, according to the Washington Examiner.
“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.
“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,” she added.
Defunding the Police Backfires
Bowser has been a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter, a group that has supported defunding police.
Now Bowser has asked the city council to approve $11 million for the hiring of 20 officers for the 2021 fiscal year and 150 officers for the 2022 fiscal year, according to the National Review.
The city council voted to cut the police budget by $15 million in 2020, following George Floyd demonstrations and calls to “defund the police,” according to the report.
The city saw nearly 200 homicides in 2020, and remains on track to match the number this year, the report noted.
“This is something that we’ve been warning about for years,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said, according to Fox News.
“We don’t really have the ability to hire officers right now. We have a defined amount of resources to deal with a very large city that continues to grow.”
The call for increased public safety in Washington continues to grow as the city has faced recent high-profile shootings. One recent shooting took place outside of a Nationals Major League Baseball game, causing fans to move for cover during the live televised event.
The mayor’s call for increased police support comes as a relief to many, but she will likely face the challenge of filling the needed positions in a city where leadership has often lacked in supporting its law enforcement.