Proposed Policing & Justice Reform Law Would Impact Safety For D.C. Businesses

Our organization is concerned that some elements of the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022 will have a negative impact on the District of Columbia. Specifically, increasing concerns about public safety and the impact on business activities across the District, especially in the Central Business District (CBD).

Residents, businesses, and employees all need a safe environment to work and live. We agree that social and criminal justice reforms are critical efforts for the long-term prosperity of our region. Still, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) needs the tools and resources required to ensure our communities remain safe.  

Our members are especially concerned about language in the legislation that would impact current staffing levels for MPD, prevent an appropriate response during violent protests, and impact how police can remove trespassers from private property. 

Certain parts of the proposed law will impact:

  •      The Metropolitan Police Department’s ability to recruit and retain officers by removing liability protections that are afforded to other city employees. We need to ensure that officers are afforded the necessary safeguards that allow them to provide for the safety of businesses, residents, and visitors. 

·      Would hinder officers from using appropriate deterrents in certain situations, such as violent protests. We support peaceful and inclusive demonstrations while also recognizing that they can easily escalate as we have seen over the past few years. During this time, many businesses across the District were looted, destroyed or otherwise impacted, and officers must be able to respond when these violent acts occur. 

·      Will make it harder for police to protect private residences and business properties. this proposed law would handicap police in a variety of ways when having to remove people that are trespassing on private property, which can leave customers and business employees unsafe and vulnerable. 

We encourage our members of the District’s business community to reach out to the D.C. Council to express their concerns with Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022.