I am proud to share that last week our government leaders came together to take immediate action to pass my emergency public safety bills and take tangible steps to make our city safer this summer. I am proud of the robust support my legislation received and am confident that this vote sends a clear message that the current state of crime and violence cannot be tolerated and that our government is working together to make DC residents safer.
The three bills I introduced, 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 Prioritizing Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act is a common-sense bill 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 I introduced last month as well as many provisions from Mayor Bowser’s Safer Stronger Act. The bill also incorporates the community and government testimony that I heard during the nearly 12-hour public hearing I hosted on the Mayor’s legislation. Hearing the concerns from witnesses both in support and opposition to the legislation, I worked closely with Mayor Bowser and my Council colleagues to develop a common-sense bill that will address gaps in our legal system to make our city safer.
The Law Enforcement Vehicular Pursuit Clarification Emergency Amendment Act clarifies the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Act of 2022 to ensure that MPD can authorize its officers to engage in pursuits 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 moves on emergency the Office of Unified Communications Transparency and Accuracy Amendment Act I introduced last month to ensure the public has access to transparent data regarding DC’s 911 call center and that the agency is working expeditiously to improve their systems and processes to prevent life-threatening errors. I’m confident all three of these bills will make a meaningful difference in improving public safety.
We also received the exciting news this week that Mayor Bowser has named her nominee to be the next Chief of Police for the Metropolitan Police Department, Assistant Chief Pamela Smith. I had the opportunity to meet with Acting Chief Smith prior to her nomination and I was impressed by her wide breadth of experience from a diversity of jurisdictions across the country, as well as her intimate knowledge of our city, MPD, and our law enforcement officers. In my conversations with Acting Chief Smith, she has shared her commitment to building stronger community relationships, improving trust in and coordination with the police, and increasing officer recruitment and retention. I look forward to holding a thorough confirmation process for this historic nominee that includes robust community input and I am eager to partner with our next Chief to ensure that they and our law enforcement officers have the tools they need to address the growing rates of crime and violence that are plaguing our communities.
Lastly, I will be hosting a community forum on public safety solutions in Chinatown on August 4th and I hope you will join me. You can RSVP here.
Yours in service,
Earlier this month, the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety held a hearing on The Food Regulation Ensures Safety and Hospitality Specialty Training Aids Re-entry Transition and Success (“FRESH STARTS”) Act. You can watch the full hearing here.
After residents in Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities raised concerns to Councilmember Pinto about the inadequacy of the food they are provided, Councilmember Pinto introduced the FRESH STARTS Act to ensure residents have access to healthy, nutritious food. The legislation also establishes additional workforce training programs to provide incarcerated residents with the tools they need to enter hospitality sector jobs upon exiting incarceration – preparing them for success and preventing recidivism.
Chairwoman Pinto has been on the ground, working directly with our public safety partners to address crime and violence in the city.
Chairwoman Pinto met with Peace for DC Executive Director Marcus Ellis to discuss how we can continue to partner to empower & invest in violence interrupters.
Chairwoman Pinto and Mayor Bowser held a Public Safety Press Conference to discuss the steps the government is taking through emergency legislation to address the crisis of crime and violence in DC.
Chairwoman Pinto joined Mayor Bowser for her nomination of Acting Chief Pamela Smith to be the next DC Police Department Chief.
Washington Post: D.C. Council passes emergency public safety legislation. “‘This legislation today is a major step forward in our effort to create a safer D.C. for all residents, and it cannot wait,’ Pinto said. ‘I want to say to families, businesses, partners of the District: We hear you, and we know we need to do more to keep you safe.’”
FOX 5: Emergency public safety bill passed by DC Council to address citywide crime crisis. “‘Today our government leaders came together to take immediate action to pass my legislation, addressing our public safety emergency and taking tangible steps to make our city safer this summer,’ said Councilmember Pinto in a statement. ‘I am proud of the robust support my legislation received and am grateful to Mayor Bowser for her partnership in developing and putting forward this common-sense legislation.’”
DCist: Amidst Spike in Violent Crime, D.C. Council Approves Emergency Public Safety Bill. “‘I want to end on a positive note. This is an example of [our government] coming together… to collaboratively solve our public safety problems,’ [Pinto] said. ‘We should lead by example that we are willing partners with the executive and this bill I hope is an example of that.’”
WATCH: DC News Now: “Immediate difference this summer”: DC Councilmember Brooke Pinto on emergency bill. “‘I am hopeful that making sure that our law enforcement partners have the tools that they need to better close cases, that our prosecutors have the tools they need to better argue for cases, especially those that are most dangerous and most violent in our community, will help us. It is not the last step, but it is an extremely important first step in legislative changes we need to be focused on as a community.’”
LISTEN: WHUR 96.3: DC Crime Bill Passes. “‘I’m working on a permanent piece of legislation that really tackles a broader array of issues that we’re seeing in our community that I hope will improve public safety. Everything from increasing efforts to prevent violence and cycles of violence, to ensuring our returning citizens have what they need to better reenter society successfully after they’ve served their sentence, [and] other accountability measures. These measures we passed [July 11] were things I believed could not wait.’”
Washington Informer: Mayor Bowser Taps Smith as DC’s Next Police Chief. “‘I am glad to see Mayor Bowser nominate Assistant Chief Pamela Smith to serve as the Metropolitan Police Department’s next chief of police,’ Pinto said. ‘Acting Chief Smith brings to this nomination a wide breadth of experience from a diversity of jurisdictions across the country, as well as an intimate knowledge of our city, MPD, and our law enforcement officers. I look forward to holding a thorough confirmation process for this historic nominee that includes robust community input.’”