A D.C. Police Union survey of its members released Thursday showed that of nearly 600 who responded, 71 percent are considering leaving the Metropolitan Police Department.
“71% of members polled are considering leaving MPD,” a press release said. The survey was conducted on Tuesday.
Of those, 25 percent said they may retired earlier than planned. Thirty-five percent are seeking jobs at other law enforcement agencies, and 39 percent are considering leaving law enforcement altogether, the survey said.
The survey was in response to emergency legislation passed by the D.C. Council last week that the union said would have “wide ranging negative impacts to the working condition of police officers in the District.” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has not yet signed it, but the legislation is backed by a veto-proof majority.
“These changes will have far reaching effects on hiring and attrition,” the union said.
The union’s statement said the bill would eliminate collective bargaining rights for employees, makes it exceedingly more difficult to charge a suspect with assaulting a police officer, and changes body worn camera policy in a way it can no longer be used as an evidence collection tool.
It also said that the bill changes the language in use of force policy in the most utterly confusing way that “even the Councilmembers could not figure out the intent or the impact of the language.”
Ninety-six percent of respondents said they thought the bill would allow crime to increase in the city; 88 percent said officer safety will decrease; and 93 percent said discipline of police would increase.
The union said in a statement:
The DC Police Union remains steadfastly committed to important discussions on police reform and is always willing to be on the cutting edge of responsible and professional policing, but the idea that our department has systemic racism which manifests itself in brutality and civil rights violations is preposterous.
The MPD has been at the forefront of police reform for 20 years. Problems that exist in other cities do not exist here. The language in the emergency legislation completely degrades the rights and working conditions afforded to police officers in this city. This legislation will cause an exodus of our best police officers and make hiring and retaining qualified employees next to impossible.
The D.C. Council passed the bill after protests and riots swept the country, including in D.C. in response to the death of George Floyd, after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
Tens of thousands of National Guardsmen were activated by governors all over the country, including by President Trump in Washington, to quell the violence, looting, and crime that accompanied many of the protests. A number of law enforcement were injured.
Bowser commissioned the painting of “Black Lives Matter” on a street in Washington, where activists promptly added “= Defund the Police.”
There were reports that police officers in precincts in Georgia left their posts on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.