For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Contact: Dionne Calhoun, 202.724.8028 (main); firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, DC) – Today, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (D – Ward 5), Chairperson of the Committee on the Judiciary along with Chairman Mendelson and Councilmembers Allen, Bonds, Cheh, Evans, Grosso, May, Nadeau, and Silverman introduced the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act of 2015, a bill to address the surge in crime with a holistic approach that includes collaboration of human services agencies, neighborhood organizations and provides the District with the data it needs to more effectively prevent outbreaks of violent crime in the future.
A key provision of the bill would create an Office of Neighborhood Engagement and Safety. The role of the office will be to identify our teenagers and young adults most at risk to engage in crime. The program will incentivize its participants to create and execute a successful life-plan, moving them away from the pitfalls of violent crime and showing them a path to success.
The Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice would be given direct grant-making authority. Councilmember McDuffie’s staff noted that neighborhood groups and organizations that are at the grassroots level, and best positioned to be interveners, violence preventers, and credible messengers are not being engaged. Grant-making authority would allow the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice to be more flexible in engaging groups by providing them with the necessary resources to respond to neighborhood conflicts.
MPD would be required to collect stop and frisk and use of force data in an effort to promote transparency and improved relations between the police and the community.
The bill would also establish a Community Crime Prevention Team Pilot Program to increase access to social services by enhancing the coordination between law enforcement and health and human services agencies. The program would embed Department of Behavioral Health and Department of Human Services social workers in the three highest crime police Districts. Social workers in the program would be in the position to advise the MPD on recurring issues they identify in each police district and on potential changes to police training or procedures that may be necessary to improve interactions with individuals suffering from homelessness, mental health disorders, or substance abuse disorders.
Finally, the legislation requires MPD to provide yearly training on preventing biased-based profiling; community policing; and the use of force in their mandatory continuing education/training.
“Over the summer, my staff and I have been hard at work meeting with residents, neighborhood organizations, criminal justice experts, and our federal partners to craft meaningful legislation to address the spike in crime and identify the root causes of the problem that impact crime. This critical legislation is a step in the right direction and I look forward to engaging residents each step of the process,” said McDuffie.