Apr 5, 2022 - News

Mayor Bowser wants 30% women police force by 2030

Muriel Bowser speaks
Mayor Muriel Bowser at Axios' What's Next summit. Photo courtesy of Joy Asico

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday said she “never supported defunding the police” and talked up her plan to hire up the city’s police force to 4,000 officers — with 30% made up of women cops by 2030.

What she’s saying: “We and many cities across the country are facing spikes in violence, and we’re throwing every resource that we have in curbing that violence,” Bowser said at the Axios What’s Next summit.

  • “I actually think that this Covid pandemic and two years of our world really being turned on its side are impacting a lot of things — including public safety,” said the mayor.

Nationwide, about 12% of police officers are women, and they make up only about 3% of leadership ranks, according to stats from Bowser's office. About 23% of the Metropolitan Police Department's current force is women.

Flashback: In June 2020, Bowser drew national attention during protests against police brutality for creating “Black Lives Matter Plaza” on 16th Street NW outside of the White House.

  • “Even in the time when we were taking our streets back, making a safe place for protestors in Washington, D.C., in front of the White House and affirming through public art that Black Lives Matter ... my administration has always been supportive of making sure our department has the resources it needs,” Bowser told Axios race and justice reporter Russell Contreras.

The big picture: D.C. hit 227 homicides last year, the fourth year of rising murders, sparking renewed debate over public safety in the nation’s capital.

  • Bowser’s new $19.5 billion budget proposal would hire more cops to reach a 4,000 officer force within nine years, starting with a net increase of roughly 40 officers next year.

Yes, but: Council members have the final say, and some progressives are questioning the need to hire more police over investing in violence prevention and other social services.

  • The mayor’s proposed incentives to retain officers on the police force are also expected to draw scrutiny.
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