WASHINGTON - The chairman of the D.C. Police Union says a push for emergency crime legislation is "refreshing," but suggests any potential reform is still "a drop in the bucket" when looking at overall crime stats.
On FOX 5 DC's "The Final 5 with Jim Lokay," Gregg Pemberton said a package of proposals set to be offered by Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto follow a long string of measures championed by progressive factions of D.C. Council that he blames for a simultaneous rise in violent crime and a drop in police recruitment and retention.
"What we've seen for the past three years is just constant introductions and passage of bills that are anti-cop, anti-law enforcement, anti-criminal, justice, pro-criminal, and to now see the city council actually discussing, if at all, these bills that do go in the direction of holding criminals accountable…there's a lot more that needs to be done."
Pemberton made the comments days after Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told FOX 5's Stephanie Ramirez "you can get away with murder in this city."
Mendelson has favored more action to increasing the so-called "closure rate" of unsolved crimes as a deterrent for criminals, citing stats that claim "roughly 50% of homicides are not solved within the year they occurred."
It's a far cry from Mendelson's comments from March 29, who said "there is not a crime crisis" when he and Councilmember Charles Allen testified in a congressional hearing over controversial changes to D.C.'s criminal code, which were eventually struck down by Congress.
Pemberton responded to Mendelson's statements, saying, "You can't have no crime crisis and then also be able to commit where with impunity. It's one of the more irresponsible things I've heard councilmembers say and that's a pretty high bar.
He added, "It's because of the policies that he and the council, particularly Charles Allen, have championed over the past three years – anti-police rhetoric, pro-criminal rhetoric, mountains of legislation that handcuff cops and prevent them from being able to do their job and professional responsible ways. And so if you really can commit a murder without being caught in the District of Columbia, it's because of his policies."
Host Lokay asked Pemberton, who has cited "anti-police rhetoric" among other reasons for a drop of about 500 officers in recent years, whether those calling for police reform have legitimate complaints as the city attempts to lure more applicants with lucrative signing bonuses.
"Accountability is important. I think we have it I think we should always strive to do better, but lowering the standards and creating an environment where less people are applying makes the situation more dangerous."