WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - In recent weeks, protesters in metropolitan areas throughout the country have been loudly demanding that cities defund their police forces.
And the D.C. Council reflected that demand when they submitted a budget that take millions from the department.
But until Tuesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had mostly been silent on the council’s action.
During a Tuesday news conference, the mayor said decreasing the size of the police force in a “rushed way” would have a negative impact on public safety.
She was reacting to a budget put forward unanimously by the council’s public safety committee that reduces the police department’s budget by millions.
"I am not in favor of decreasing the police department with no consideration on how calls for service are going to be handled so unless they are also prepared to tell residents to stop calling 911. I'm not sure who is going to respond to those calls,” Bowser said.
In a Twitter thread written Monday, Public Safety Committee Chairman Charles Allen said:
“So how will this play out? In essence, unless money is transferred by the mayor, there will be an effective hiring freeze on new officers. Add attrition into the mix and force numbers will drop by about 200 officers.”
He continued, “Our strategy is to reduce our force size in a responsible way by turning off the spigot plus adding in natural attrition.”
Allen wrote the tweet thread in part because advocates for defunding the police claim the department’s budget actually increased and had not fallen by $15.1 million for the next fiscal year.
But he also now argues that the actual figure – the reduction figure – is $33 million, or 5.32 percent.
The council also passed a sweeping emergency reform bill the police union says will lead to higher crime and officers leaving in droves.
The full council still needs to vote on the budget.
FOX 5 reached out to Allen for comment on the mayor’s statement.