The Metropolitan Police Department normally brings on 250 new officers a year, but because of the city council’s decision to defund the police department and slash its budget, the MPD was only able to recruit 42 officers, Bowser said.
As a result, officers have been working overtime.
“Right now, I have directed MPD to use any overtime necessary to meet our public safety demands,” the Democratic mayor said in a statement on Wednesday.
“But we know that is not a complete solution or the right long-term solution,” she said. “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.”
Though Bowser did not directly say the city council was to blame, she did say she would add an additional $11 million to the supplemental budget for the purpose of training and hiring 20 additional officers in 2012 and another 150 in 2022.
This budget increase must be approved by the city council first before it can take effect.
Last year, city council members voted to defund the MPD by shifting $23 million out of its budget.
Since then, homicides have increased by 3%.
This month gunfire broke out near the Washington Nationals baseball stadium, and a few days later another brazen shooting in an upscale Logan Circle neighborhood sent restaurant patrons fleeing.
Bowser publicly opposed the city council’s decision to cut the police department’s budget, arguing that law enforcement needs more funding, not less.
“We fund the police at the level that we need it funded, and my [city] council has my current budget proposal in front of them to give every neighborhood in Washington, D.C., the police support that they need,” Bowser said. “And so my budget doesn’t fund it a penny more than we need and certainly not a penny less.”