A Call To Reduce The Size Of The Washington DC Police

Gary Baumgarten
3 min readApr 1, 2021

Washington DC. Our nation’s capitol. And one of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

Neighborhood Scout rates DC’s crime index at 3 percent. With 100 percent being the nation’s safest city. This means Washington DC is safer than just 3 percent of the cities in the United States.

Yet today there’s another call to cut the size of the police department.

This comes just one day after five people were shot, two fatally, in a DC neighborhood.

One might argue that police patrols really can’t prevent shootings. But consider that police resources are stretched whenever there is a major crime scene such as this. And that affects response to other emergency calls.

The call to cut the number of officers on the streets is in sharp contrast with the tactic the department took in 2013. When, in response to complaints about slow police response time in DC, the department actually 310 cops.

Today’s recommendations call for social workers, not armed cops, to respond to certain 911 calls in Washington DC. This is not unlike similar thinking in other cities. New York City, for example, is running a pilot social worker response program.

But as any cop can tell you, oftentimes emotionally disturbed people can become violent. And with the number of guns and other weapons so readily available, it’s likely that if police aren’t dispatched after the initial 911 call they will be after social workers are confronted by armed and unstable people.

In fact, many social workers aren’t so keen about the prospect of going into dangerous situations without police backup.

The call for reforming policing has been loud, clear and well supported in this country. Especially after the tragedy in Minneapolis where George Floyd died after a police officer put his knee to Floyd’s neck for about nine and a half minutes. The number of police shootings of young black men in the United States is also obvious cause for concern. According to the National Academy of Sciences, “Police violence is a leading cause of death for young men in the United States. Over the life course, about 1 in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by police. “ But is cutting the number…