FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Zoe Ades, Communications Director
COUNCILMEMBER PINTO INTRODUCES SLATE OF EMERGENCY PUBLIC SAFETY BILLS
Today, Councilmember Brooke Pinto introduced a series of emergency bills to address the public safety emergency in the District. The three bills, the “Prioritizing Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2023,” the “Law Enforcement Vehicular Pursuit Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2023,” and the “Office of Unified Communications Transparency and Accuracy Emergency Amendment Act of 2023” will address pressing gaps in our legal system and public safety apparatus by promoting accountability for offenders, supporting victims, ensuring police have the tools they need to keep communities safe, and improving accountability and transparency at our 911 call center.
“The crime and violence we have seen in recent days and months is evidence that we must move with urgency to address the crisis we are seeing in our city,” said Councilmember Pinto. “The measures I am introducing today are necessary to prevent repeat offenders from further harming and traumatizing our community, hold perpetrators accountable, protect and support victims, ensure police are able to keep our community safe, and increase accountability and transparency around our public safety apparatus.”
“These are thoughtful, common-sense measures that will palpably improve public safety. The work to improve public safety is ongoing and there are a number of measures addressing all aspects of our public safety apparatus that I am working every day to effectuate; however, some changes cannot wait. This bill will make the urgent changes we need today to address the emergency our residents are experiencing this summer,” stated Councilmember Pinto.
The Prioritizing Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act includes common sense provisions to prevent crime and violence, ensure that perpetrators can be held accountable, and increase protections for victims. The provisions in the bill include key measures from the Accountability and Victim Protection Amendment Act of 2023 that Councilmember Pinto introduced last month. In addition, the emergency bill includes many provisions from Mayor Bowser’s Safer Stronger Act and incorporates the community and government testimony Councilmember Pinto heard during the nearly 12-hour public hearing she hosted on the Mayor’s legislation. Hearing the concerns from witnesses both in support and opposed to the legislation, Councilmember Pinto developed a common-sense bill that will address gaps in our legal system to make our city safer.
The Prioritizing Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2023 will:
The Law Enforcement Vehicular Pursuit Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2023 clarifies the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Act of 2022 to address Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) concerns that the language of the legislation requires MPD to implement a no-pursuit policy in regards to vehicles – a policy no jurisdiction in the United States has – limiting their ability to pursue dangerous individuals, even in the most extreme of circumstances. The emergency legislation makes clarifying changes to the limitation on vehicle pursuits to ensure that MPD can authorize its officers to engage in pursuits when necessary to protect the public’s safety. The legislation would retain strict limits on pursuits, allowing them only where the fleeing suspect has committed a crime of violence or poses an imminent threat to public safety, and where pursuit is necessary and can be conducted in a way that mitigates the risk of injury to innocent people.
The Office of Unified Communications Transparency and Accuracy Emergency Amendment Act of 2023 moves on an emergency basis accountability and transparency measures that Councilmember Pinto introduced in the “Office of Unified Communications Transparency and Accuracy Amendment Act” last month. Understanding the urgent needs to improve the operations at OUC and ensure the public has access to transparent data, the emergency legislation enables these measures to go into effect immediately.
The Office of Unified Communications Transparency and Accuracy Emergency Amendment Act of 2023 will: