Survey shows DC police reform bill has officers rethinking their careers

A survey conducted this week by the D.C. Police Union shows 71 percent of respondents said they were thinking of leaving the force.

The eye opening response coming as officers grappled with the idea of changing the very way they police the city.

The Union says 600 officers responded to the survey conducted over a 24 hour period earlier this week.

RELATED: DC police chief tells officers the city council has "completely abandoned" them

There are approximately 3600 officers who are members of the Union.

The survey also shows 93% believe discipline will increase, 96 percent believe crime will increase, 98.7 percent agreed with DC Police Chief Peter Newsham that the DC City Council had "completely abandoned them" and 88 percent believe officer safety will decrease.

RELATED: DC Council passes emergency police reform bill

In the days after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis the calls to defund the police have been consistent and loud.

Demonstrators have filled the streets protesting and lawmakers have been listening.

As many as a hundred people took the time to testify in front of the DC City Council this week. Waiting hours for their voices to be heard.

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But virtually drowned out amidst all of this has been the voice of the police who with this survey are now saying be forewarned.

Some of the reforms will hurt more than help. For example, Greg Pemberton, President of the DC Police Union, says under a Supreme Court ruling officers have the right to detain someone without probable cause for a a period of time as they investigate a possible crime.

But the Council has taken that away.

"Now that they are changing the policy that people can't be detained without probable cause", said Pemberton, "there is going to be a lot more crimes that occur and suspects are just going to be able to walk off the scene and officers can't intervene so once criminals realize that is the situation it's going to be fair game to commit whatever crimes they want".

But Mary Cheh, Ward 3 representative on the DC City Council, says the reforms will actually lighten the load of responsibilities officers already have.

"The reforms that we have in mind will actually make them better it will make them better because one of the things we have to think about doing is relieving them of all of the obligations that we have saddled them with that are hard to handle, mental health problems and having them in our schools things of that nature".

Cheh says this is an opportunity to make the police department better and she thinks it can be done.

On the other hand, Pemberton says police departments are looking for good officers in every state and they would love to have an already trained officer from the DC Police Department.

He believes only a small minority of people are calling for the defunding of the police and the vast majority of citizens want a good, well trained police force.