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DC Police Union criticizes police reform bill, claims officers are resigning as a result

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 5/4/2021 Anna-Lysa Gayle

As the conversation around policing continues nationwide, the District’s police reform bill is top of mind.

“Here we are almost 10 months later,” said D.C. Police Union Chairman Gregg Pemberton.

The D.C. Police Union claims that the bill, which passed unanimously, is impacting the department.

“I think by the time we get one year out from June 1st, we’re probably going to be looking at upwards of 400 members have left,” Pemberton said.

7News obtained the latest numbers from the Metropolitan Police Department.

Since June, 326 members have separated from the department, 158 of those were resignations.

“Many people are leaving law enforcement all together, they’re going to find another line of work,” Pemberton said.

Chief Robert Contee, who took over after Chief Peter Newsham resigned in November, was asked about the issue on Monday.

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“It’s something we need to continue to not just watch, but it’s something that eventually that we must act on, in terms of making sure that our force is where it needs to be,” Contee said. “The numbers are reduced, it is a concern. We’ve been talking about a shrinking workforce for some time now. This is not the first time that this has occurred.”

There are 3623 sworn members remaining.

Pemberton believes changes are needed in the bill, to keep remaining officers on the force.

“The Police Union does not oppose many of the provisions in the 'Reform' Bill, but Subtitle L needs to be removed if citizens expect to have a functioning police department and safety in their neighborhoods,” he wrote. “We think that that’s something that’s going to help protect the police officers."

Subtitle ‘L’ says that all “matters pertaining to the discipline of sworn law enforcement personnel shall be retained by management and not be negotiable.”

“Police officers should not be able to negotiate their own discipline behind closed doors. The council passed legislation recognizing that holding public employees accountable by taking discipline off the bargaining table, while preserving due process protections, strengthens trust in government,” said Councilmember Charles Allen.


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