April 28, 2022 | Media

Public Safety Town Hall w/ AG Karl Racine

On April 21, 2022, Councilmember Nadeau hosted her annual public safety town hall, co-hosted by DC's Attorney General Karl Racine, as well as community organizations working to end violent crime in DC and Ward 1: Moms Demand Action and No Slide Zone. Click on each partner org to learn more about the many ways violence in our communities is being addressed. You can also learn more about OAG's Cure the Streets program, and its Ward 1 service area, by clicking here

Read on for Councilmember Nadeau's remarks from the event, a summary of the Council's new investments in public safety, as well as a Zoom recording of the event with AG Racine. 


Councilmember Nadeau - Opening Remarks

It has been a challenging time here in the District of Columbia, and across the country, when it comes to public safety. As your Councilmember, it is my goal for everyone to feel safe in their own neighborhood. As a mother raising two little ones here in Ward 1, I understand deeply how important it is to ensure we end violent crime in all of our communities across the District. That’s why I have taken action to do so in each budget and through rigorous oversight and collaboration with our public safety and support services agencies.     

Since my first year on the Council, I have fought for dedicated resources to end violent crime in Ward 1, by using every tool we have in government, as well as partnering with community leaders and organizations that have proven track records. It is going to take all of us working together to end the violence.     

The key points I hope to impress upon you as we engage in discussion tonight are:   

  • The level of violent crime we have here in Ward 1 is unacceptable to me and I will not rest until it subsides

  • I continue to fight for every necessary resource here in our Ward, as I have since day 1

  • I am supporting both short- and long-term solutions to violent crime


Restoring Resources for Ward 1  

When I first took office in 2015, I learned that there had been a major disinvestment in violence prevention in our Ward. This was a shock, because the history of our neighborhoods makes it clear that we will always need investments in our residents: youth programs, job programs, stable housing, and violence prevention programs.   

Since then, I have worked every year to fill the gap in resources I recognized. Over time I was able to bring us from $0 invested in violence prevention in Ward 1 to nearly $1.5 million per year, an amount I plan to build on. That’s on top of investments in the Summer Youth Employment Program, our Parks and Recreation programs and the Out-of-School Time funds I helped establish and secure at $20 million per year which provides tutoring, mentoring and extracurricular activities for our kids outside of school.   

But because of that historic disinvestment, we’ve had our work cut out for us. Over the years I’ve worked with experts in public safety to better understand what it will take to end violence in our communities. The violent crime we are grappling with now is a result of generations of hurtful policies that perpetuated racism and inequality, exacerbated by significant trauma and insecurity caused by the pandemic and its aftereffects. When we look around us, we see that communities are hurting and scarred in so many ways, both historically and just from the last 2 years.  

When we talk about a “return to normal” that’s often meant to talk about economic activity, going to restaurants and concerts and so on. And while there has been an edging towards normalcy in that regard, there has absolutely been no “return to normal” when it comes to the compounding crises of mental health, developmental challenges for children, job and housing instability – all of the things we know lead to desperation and outbursts of violence. 

As Chairperson of the Committee on Human Services in particular, I have been able to significantly expand funding in those upstream investments, such as preventing or addressing homelessness and addiction. In the past we have relied on the police to address those issues. 

In a recent conversation with our police chief at the MPD budget hearing, Chief Contee noted that while police are part of the solution, that it takes many different types of investments in human services, employment opportunities and other services to prevent people from picking up guns. He said to me very clearly, the violence prevention programs are WORKING. And because those areas have traditionally been underfunded or not existed at all, that’s where I have worked the hardest to close the gaps.  


Taking Action   

That's also why I co-introduced and voted for the NEAR Act, a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill that addresses community violence with a public health approach. The NEAR Act Established the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE), as well as several other programs that have demonstrated success at ending violence in the neighborhoods they serve.  

As Councilmember I work together with MPD, the Office of Neighborhood Safety, the Gun Violence Prevention Office, the Attorney General and the federal US Attorney’s Office to ensure we have the resources and focus that we need in Ward 1. Much of the work of a Councilmember is ensuring these different resources are both properly funded and appropriately coordinated.  

I know that when we are experiencing so much crime, words from politicians about programs and initiatives just don’t cut it. So let me be very clear about the full spectrum what we are doing every day to end the violence in Ward 1.   

  • Before a violent crime occurs, we invest in individuals whose communities have had a great deal of neighborhood violence and offer a different path and preventing them from picking up a gun in the first place.  

  • We hire trained personnel with lived experience to mediate conflicts before they become violent. This work is going on 24/7.  

  • When a violent crime occurs, we work together as a government and a community to identify shooters, prosecute them and recover their weapons so they cannot be used again.  

  • We ensure that victims receive the support they need to heal, to prevent retaliation and further harm to them, their friends and their families.   

  • We engage the friends and family members of shooters to prevent them from engaging in conflict.   

In Ward 1 we now have two primary programs that do both the short- and long-term work of violence prevention. Our longest standing community partner is Collaborative Solutions for Communities. They are focused on Park View, Columbia Heights and LeDroit Park. New to Ward 1 in 2022 is the Cure the Streets program run by the Office of the Attorney General, focusing resources on Columbia Heights.  I’m looking forward to hearing more from him about this work from the AG.   

Much of this work is about funding our public safety priorities and oversight of those funds. But sometimes it’s also about passing new laws. I wrote and secured passage of DC’s new “red flag” gun law that gives police and residents new tools to remove guns if a person presents an immediate threat. I also worked with colleagues to update our laws to get homemade “ghost guns” off the streets.   

We need to be doing all of this work, together as a government and a community, in order to end the violence. And that’s what I’m committed to doing, just as I have since Day 1.  


Fully Funding the District’s Public Safety Strategies - Summary of Council Investmennts

  •  Strategically invests in public health-based approaches to community safety:  

  • Approves and enhances the budget of the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement – the District agency charged with promoting community-based strategies to prevent violence and improve community safety – by more than 19% to $34.1 million, with 90 staff; the agency was initially created and funded in FY18 with a budget of only $2.1 million and 16 staff, and the Committee has grown its budget each year since  

  • Approves $9.7 million for new violence interrupters, for a total of $13.8 million for violence intervention contracts in 25 priority communities across the District  

  • Approves $7.5 million for the Pathways Program – currently in its 10th cohort – to serve 200 residents at risk of committing or being victims of gun violence; Pathways is a transitional employment program that works to decrease participants’ involvement in the criminal justice system and improve their employment, education, and training outcomes. Approves an increase in the Pathways participants’ wages through a $1.1 million enhancement 

  • Approves funding for 20 “life coaches” to support individuals identified in the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform’s Gun Violence Problem Analysis as being at high risk of committing gun violence, supplemented by an additional $475,000 in one-time local funds identified by the Committee for client incentives 

  • Funds the Office of the Attorney General’s Cure the Streets violence intervention program at $11.3 million, which will support ten sites across the District 

  • Identifies a $1.1 million enhancement for the District’s network of Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs (“HVIPs”) through the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, including $575,000 in recurring dollars to supplement the HVIPs’ FY23 proposed budget (including $300,000 from the Committee on Government Operations & Facilities) and $500,000 in one-time funding for a new HVIP project to develop, implement and evaluate protocols and training for law enforcement and medical providers to guide their interactions and reduce gun violence. 

  • Approves the Executive’s proposal for an additional 347 Metropolitan Police Department sworn officers – including a $14.2 million enhancement to hire 108 new officers, convert 42 cadets, and keep on 17 senior police officers – and the following recruitment and retention incentives: 

  • $500,000 for the Housing Allowance Incentive Program, a 150% increase over the FY22 approved budget, to cover six months of costs associated with temporary housing for new recruits  

  • $1.2 million for the Police Officer Retention Program, a 200% increase over the FY22 approved budget, to subsidize tuition reimbursement and educational incentives 

  • $5.2 million for a new enhancement for recruit hiring bonuses 

  • $210,000 for a new enhancement for cadet conversion bonuses 

  • Improves community trust in, and accountability of, law enforcement by: 

  • Identifying funding for the civilian Office of Police Complaints, with an enhancement of $152,000 for additional staffing 

  • Including a new Budget Support Act subtitle and $673,610 to enhance stop and frisk data reporting by the Metropolitan Police Department and require basic budget, hiring, attrition, staffing, and overtime transparency  

  • Creates opportunities for individuals returning home from incarceration and detention to help them reenter successfully and prevent reoffending: 

  • Funds $21.6 million for justice grants at the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants ($6.4 million in local dollars, $3.1 million in federal dollars, and $10.1 million in District Recovery Plan funds), including: 

  • Continues last year’s unprecedented $10 million investment in flexible funding for reentry services providers to support returning citizens with housing, transportation assistance, connectivity, and other temporary or immediate expenses 

  • Grows reentry housing grants with an enhancement of $1 million in one-time local funds 

  • Accepts $200,000 in recurring local funds from the Committee on Government Operations & Facilities and identifies an additional $500,000 in recurring local funds, for a total of $700,000 in additional funding for reentry grants 

  • Identifies the full budget – $2.1 million in recurring local dollars – to continue the Department of Corrections’ (“DOC”) LEAD Up! and LEAD Out! Programs, pre- and post-release reentry and employment programs, respectively, that provide leadership, education, and development opportunities to residents incarcerated in or released from DOC or Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) facilities 

Addressing the Needs of Crime Victims and Survivors  

  • Funds $40.1 million for victim services grants at the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants ($30.1 million in local dollars, $1.1 million from the Crime Victim Assistance Fund, $4.8 million in federal dollars, and $4.1 million in District Recovery Plan funds), including: 

  •  As proposed: 

  •  $3.8 million in District Recovery Plan funds for additional units of emergency and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence  

  •  $350,000 in District Recovery Plan funds for grants for LGBTQ+ residents for targeted services and dedicated emergency shelter housing 

  •  $1.9 million for trauma-informed mental health services and alternative healing options for victims of gun violence   

  •  As identified by the Committee, an additional: 

  •  $575,000 in recurring and $500,000 in one-time local dollars to supplement the proposed budget for Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs, as noted above  

  •  $500,000 in recurring local dollars to support the organizational viability of victim services providers, such as through increases to staff salaries 

  •  $1 million in one-time local dollars for domestic violence services grants 

  •  $1 million in one-time local dollars for sexual violence services grants 

  • Includes a Budget Support Act subtitle to promote transparency by requiring that the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants publish information about its funding awards and budget   

  • Approves $1.9 million in ARPA funds for same-day access to trauma-informed mental health services for victims of gun violence 

  • Approves $2.2 million in ARPA funds for a flexible housing assistance program for victims of gun violence and residents at-risk of victimization with relocation and short- to medium-term housing stabilization 


Note - due to the hybrid meeting structure, there were some technical difficulties capturing a full recording. You can also view the Zoom recording here.