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Public Safety Update

Councilmember Brianne Nadeau with Police Chief Pamela Smith at memorial event

Over the past year, my Council colleagues and I have been laser-focused on improving public safety in the District. Every Ward 1 resident deserves to feel safe in their home and their neighborhood. I’d like to provide you with this update on my work in this critical area.

My comprehensive approach to public safety revolves around prevention, policing, and prosecution. In the past year, I’ve supported landmark legislation like the Secure DC Omnibus Bill to better equip police and prosecutors. I introduced the Reliable and Effective 911 Dispatch Act and the CADET Act to improve emergency response and hire more D.C. residents as police officers. And my Case Closure and Witness Support Act will help police close more homicide cases. In Ward 1, I’ve fought to secure millions in investments in violence prevention programs, substance use disorder outreach, traffic safety enforcement, and Safety Ambassadors.

Let’s talk about policing (and a bit about prosecution) first.

I supported the Secure DC Omnibus Bill, which strengthens penalties for some offenses, takes a smart approach to shoplifting, and empowers police to establish temporary drug-free zones while protecting individuals seeking support for substance use disorder. It incorporates the study I introduced on programs that assist witnesses who testify in homicide cases.

The Prioritizing Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act helps keep violent offenders off the streets, bolsters community policing, and cracks down on carjackings.

I also introduced three pieces of legislation to improve public safety operations and lead to more arrests and prosecutions:

  • My Reliable and Effective 911 Dispatch Act addresses inadequate 911 dispatch operations, reducing response times and ensuring swift emergency services. It would transfer all fire and emergency medical calls to the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department for their expert response and dispatch
  • The CADET Act would bolster police recruitment through the Cadet program, increasing pay and expanding eligibility to individuals up to age 33.
  • My Case Closure and Witness Support Amendment Act would increase rewards for witnesses who provide information leading to homicide convictions, and to strengthen support and security/assistance for witnesses. This would give witnesses the confidence to provide information and testify.

Targeted Investments in Ward 1 Public Safety

I directed more than $4.5 million for public safety initiatives in Ward 1 in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget and more in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2025 budget, including:

  • Expanded violence prevention programs with significant additional funding in Park View, Columbia Heights, LeDroit Park, and 14th & V streets.
  • Paid for two traffic control officers stationed near 14th & Irving streets to enforce traffic safety, manage congestion, and clear bus and bike lanes.
  • Expanded the targeted substance use disorder outreach at Columbia Heights Civic Plaza to include commercial corridors on Mt. Pleasant Street, Lower Georgia, and U Street, as well as on T Street by Howard Theater.
  • Allocated funding for the Adams Morgan BID to hire additional Safety Ambassadors.

Invested in this year’s budget in additional mobile police cameras to improve neighborhood safety.

Community Engagement and Leadership

I’m fostering community partnerships to improve public safety, starting with the U St.  Safety Initiative that I established and supporting the work of the U St. Nightlife Taskforce to bring agencies together to address violence.

Over the past year I’ve pressed to restore accreditation of the DC Crime Lab for improved evidence processing. Two of the lab’s five units finally got their accreditation in December. In the Fiscal Year 2025 budget I added funds to staff up the crime scene services division. That comes up for votes next week and a final vote on June 12.

I introduced and supported legislation to improve road safety, crack down on fake tags, and hold dangerous drivers accountable. I also invested money in the upcoming budget for more license plate readers that allow the Department of Public Works parking enforcement division to target scofflaws. Check out this story about that from WTOP.

Making our city safer takes collaborative work in many areas, from strengthening policing, getting the U.S. Attorney to prosecute more cases, and intensifying our efforts to address the root causes of crime: housing, education, mental health and substance use disorders, and more.

Related

Councilmember Nadeau sent the following letter to the City Administrator and the Director of the Office of Unified Communications on Tuesday to express her deep concern over the 911 dispatch center's ongoing failure to dispatch assistance where it is needed. She called the failures "alarming and unacceptable."
Traffic safety is public safety. Working together with DPW, we are making it harder to be a dangerous driver in D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau, D-Ward 1, joined by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, introduced legislation Monday to address the proliferation of mopeds in D.C. by making sellers and renters of mopeds responsible for registration requirements, similar to the experience of buying or renting a car.

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