DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that she directed the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to “use any overtime necessary to meet our public safety needs” in response to the latest shootings that rocked the city.
Bowser’s office on Monday released a letter the mayor sent to DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Charles Allen in order to notify her decision.
In her letter, Bowser emphasized the need to “address the brazen shooters in our neighborhoods,” citing last weekend’s fatal shooting of six-year old Nyiah Courtney, and the increase in gun violence in the District over the past year.
Nyiah was shot near the intersection of Malcolm X Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on Friday, July 16. Five adults, including the child’s mother, were also shot. The little girl was pronounced dead at the hospital where she was taken. DC police found a vehicle used during Nyiah’s shooting earlier this week. On Saturday, three individuals were shot outside Nationals Park.
“We have heard the calls from residents in our communities most impacted by gun violence: They want to see a strong, sustained police presence,” said the letter. “They do not feel safe while the threat of gun violence looms. My charge to our police officers is to keep our communities safe and bring to justice those responsible for terrorizing our neighborhoods, threatening our families, and harming our residents.”
There will be full activation of the Summer Crime Prevention Initiative, community members will be engaged to build and deepen relationships, and the focus will remain on getting illegal guns off the District’s streets, according to the letter.
“Expanding and maintaining these increased police deployments in our communities during a year of no police hiring requires a corresponding increase in overtime. But while the use of overtime is a necessary tool, it is not an ideal solution as it results in the burnout of officers. The better solution is to fully staff our police force,” Bowser added, vowing that her administration would continue to work with the Council and community members to keep the city safe and hold accountable those who threaten residents.
The DC Council requires that the city report on police overtime usage every month.