Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99
From the Mayor’s Office:
I agree with Chief Lanier that as our city grows we must make further investments in public safety. I’ve recently proposed adding 100 officers to the ranks of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to give the Chief the ability to deploy additional officers into our communities on foot, bike, and Segway – especially in neighborhoods that are growing rapidly. I strongly believe that adding these additional officers is critical to keeping our residents and visitors safe, and I’m deeply disappointed that the Council is considering opposing this plan. I urge the Council to reject this ill-advised and short-sighted maneuver, and join with me in working to make our city the safest it can be.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray
Attached is a letter from MPD Chief Lanier advocating for increased resources.
December 17, 2012
The Honorable Phil Mendelson, Chairman
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Dear Chairman Mendelson:
As we are about to embark on another year, I am reminded that we must be prepared to face the critical challenges that will soon be upon us. Like many other urban areas, Washington, D.C., is experiencing a staggering amount of economic development and population growth.
This welcome growth means more areas of shopping, restaurants, offices, and residences, all of which will require expanded police attention. We must undertake prudent planning as this development is occurring to ensure We are in the best possible position to handle those future challenges and continue to provide the high quality police service the community has come to expect from us.
During the past year, we have conducted a comprehensive analysis of ongoing development throughout the city. The historical lessons We have learned from areas such as Chinatown and Columbia Heights suggest that several other areas of development will experience an upward trajectory in Workload – both calls for service and crime. Capitol Riverfront and NoMA have both experienced incredible growth, yet continued plans suggest they are merely in the early to mid-stages of development. Several other areas – including the H Street corridor, U Street and 14th Street NW, CityCenterDC, DuPont Circle, Adams Morgan, and the St. Elizabeth’s campus, to name a few – are undergoing substantial amounts of new or continued development. All of these areas will have a significant impact on police services. Our analysis has made it clear that due to the dense development, the areas will demand a different type of police deployment- more foot, bike, and Segway patrols, which are not able to cover as large of an area.
To highlight the real impact of the city’s rapid economic development, I share with you one example of what We have learned. We have determined that when a new bar opens, city blocks with 10 or more ABRA establishments require four times the additional manpower than blocks with one to nine bars. There are 17 city blocks that currently have 10 or more ABRA locations. More notably, there are 10 additional city blocks that are within one or two new bars of reaching the 10-bar tipping point. The fact is Washington is no longer merely a day-working, commuter city. It is a 24/7 city filled with a thriving and growing nightlife.
Continues after the jump.
These future demands on personnel are further underscored by the approaching retirement “bubble”. MPD has been Warning of the increase in members eligible for retirement for several years. It began to hit in fiscal year 2012, when attrition rose from a 5-year average of 175 members, to 204 separations. This year We will likely experience an additional 250 separations. While We are funded to be able to hire to keep pace with attrition, this obviously does not account for the increased demand that commercial and residential development will soon place on the Department.
Ultimately, the equation for properly preparing for the future is simple: more officers safer streets more development a city that continues to grow. The city learned this lesson the hard way in the 1990s when unacceptable crime levels led a large number of residents and businesses, and therefore the tax base, to depart the city. In contrast, the last several years have seen historic reductions in crime. The city is no longer the “Murder Capital of the World”, but rather it is viewed as a great home for both businesses and residents, and a destination for almost 18 million tourists a year. Continued planning will make us a fully-equipped, flexible, and modern police department that can face the many challenges that lie ahead. And while we welcome civilian employees and recognize their contributions, the expanding demands on police services require more sworn members who can patrol the rapidly growing areas of the city.
Yes, there is a cost to these preparations, which is especially difficult in this day of constricted budgets and competing priorities, but the benefits are invaluable and the long-term cost of crime is not one we can afford to bear.
Cathy L. Lanier
Chief of Police