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Washington DC mayor calls for more police funds as murders, violence increase in US capital

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US police officers are see near the White House, Washington DC. (Reuters file photo)

Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, has called for more police funding amid a surge in homicides and high-profile gun violence in the US capital.

In a letter to the DC Council, the Democratic mayor called for “a strong, sustained police presence,” as the city has been facing “a sustained increase in gun violence over the past year.

Bowser will need to get the approval of $11 million from DC Council to hire more cops over the next two years

But the council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he didn’t believe his colleagues would approve the funds, for more police recruitment, though.

Bowser said, “Right now, I have directed MPD (Metropolitan Police Department) to use any overtime necessary to meet our public safety demands."

"But we know that is not a complete solution or the right long-term solution,” she added.

“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," Bowser said.

The mayor complained that a police budget reduction of $15 million in fiscal year 2021 harmed police recruitment.

The MPD usually hires about 250 new officers per year. This year, they’ve hired only 42 officers.

The mayor, who also called for courts reopening, said that federal prosecutors still haven’t pressed charges in more than 2,000 cases.

The capital’s courts that have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, still haven't reopened fully.

“No matter how you look at it, the system is not working at full capacity, and that means justice is delayed,” she said. 

Deadly shootings are almost a daily occurrence in the US capital. Only this year, at least 111 people have been killed in homicide incidents in the city.

Earlier this week, Police chief Robert Contee complained that a dysfunctional court system is allowing dangerous offenders to run free.

He made the remarks during a press conference for a daytime shooting in an upscale DC district, that occurred last Thursday.

Two men were injured in the attack as over 10 gunshots rang out on a high-end street. The suspected shooter and one accomplice fled the scene and remain at large.

He said that at least 922 shootings and 198 homicides recorded in DC, last year.

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