Police Reform

PoliceI support:

  • Demilitarization of the DC police and severing of its ties with Israeli security forces
  • Police reform so that police officers patrol a beat on foot rather than in squad cars
  • Preferential hiring of DC residents in the city’s police force
  • Redirecting spending on militarization toward mental health and other social services
  • A ban on Freemasons and members of similar groups from joining the police

On policing matters, I support a balance between the need for public safety and proper oversight for law enforcement entities working within our communities. My idea of an effective police force is closer to the original vision put forth in the 19th Century by Sir Robert Peel than the militarized monstrosity we have today. He envisioned a benign institution committed to prevention of crime as much as response to already-committed crime. Therefore, I would propose that police officers patrol a beat on foot so that they can be available and responsive to citizens’ needs rather than a primarily reactive force. To make the city’s police force more community-based, I would advocate on the Council for promoting the hiring of police officers who actually live in the city.

I support a fierce crackdown on police corruption including a ban on Freemasons and members of similar fraternal societies from joining any of DC’s police departments. I would also introduce a bill to ensure that police officers use their firearms only as an ultimate last resort and instead encourage the use of non-lethal methods of suspect incapacitation such as tasers and stun guns instead of live rounds where appropriate.

In this city, like in much of the rests of the country, the police often get tied up in dealing with issues that should not be within their remit – such as homeless and mental health, to take just two examples. Therefore, in terms of police defunding, I would advocate on the Council for redirecting the money that is currently spent on militarizing the police toward social services such as mental health interventions.