The DC Police Union issued the following statement along with some stunning survey results.
WashingtonExaminer reports nearly three-fourths of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department said in a poll that they are considering leaving the force amid a police reform bill recently passed by the D.C. Council.
The proposal would require law enforcement body camera footage to be released to the public more quickly following a police-related shooting and would restrict when officers can use lethal force. It also would prohibit the department from purchasing military-style equipment from the federal government.
Local lawmakers stopped an attempt by one council member at large who proposed to limit the size of the force and cap it at 3,500 from its current size of 3,863. However, several hundred on the force revealed to the D.C. Police Union, which represents 3,600 Washington officers, detectives, and sergeants, that they are looking to leave anyway.
According to the survey of 600 local law enforcement members, of the 71% considering leaving, 25% may retire earlier than planned, 35% are seeking jobs at other law enforcement agencies, and 39% are considering leaving law enforcement altogether.
Additionally, 96% of those members polled said they believe crime will increase, and 88% said officer safety will plunge.
“The D.C. Police Union remains steadfastly committed to important discussions on police reform and is always willing to be on the cutting edge of responsible and professional policing, but the idea that our department has systemic racism which manifests itself in brutality and civil rights violations is preposterous,” the D.C. Police Union said in a statement, adding that the Metropolitan Police Department has been at the “forefront of police reform for 20 years.”
“This legislation will cause an exodus of our best police officers and make hiring and retaining qualified employees next to impossible,” the union added.
The survey also found that 98.7% of those polled agreed with D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham that D.C. Council members have “completely abandoned the police.” Other municipalities around the country are facing similar responses from their law enforcement agencies to budget proposals and police reforms, including Los Angeles, New York City, Hallandale Beach, and Atlanta.