District of Columbia

What to do here

Click a "Get Template" button to get an email template about a specific issue. Edit the template to connect on a more personal level with your lawmaker. See the Contacting Logistics page for information about how to write an effective email to your lawmakers. Get your lawmakers' emails with the search box to the right. Send the email!

Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated Jan. 20, 2020

Summary

Key:

Legislation Achieved

Some Progress

No Progress

  • Demilitarization

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    No knock warrants
    1033 program
    Military-style training
    SWAT data

    District of Columbia a

  • For Profit Policing

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Civil asset forfeiture
    Quotas
    Cost of misconduct

    District of Columbia b

  • Broken Windows Policing

    Minor offenses
    Objective justification for stops
    Reporting stop details

    District of Columbia c

  • Accountability

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Reckless civil rights violation
    Independent investigation
    Qualified immunity

    District of Columbia d

  • Reinvesting in Communities

    Mental health response

    Education, housing, and community health resources

    District of Columbia e

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

Some Progress:

The police reform bill passed by the D.C. City Council in June 2020 bans no-knock warrants.

1033 purchases

Some Progress:

The police reform bill passed by the D.C. Council in June 2020 bans the purchase of weapons from the federal government. As with no-knock warrants, the passage of this reform hinges on the federal Congress.

Military style training

Some Progress:

The police reform bill passed by the D.C. Council in June 2020 includes provisions to redesign training to focus on racism and white supremacy. As with no-knock warrants, the passage of this reform hinges on the federal Congress.

SWAT data

No Progress:

D.C. has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

Some Progress:

D.C. reformed its civil asset forfeiture process in 2015. Now, no forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement, the D.C. government assumes the burden of proof when an owner makes a claim to regain seized property, and those impacted by a forfeiture to contest the seizure shortly after it occurs.

Quotas

No Progress:

D.C. has not yet enacted a law ending quotas for low-level arrests. In Feb. 2020, former MPD officers testified to the use of citation quotas as evaluation tools, and claimed they were pressured to issue tickets.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

D.C. has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

Some Progress:

D.C. legalized the posession of small amounts of marijuana in 2015. However, it has not made efforts to decriminalize non-serious crimes like loitering, despite cases brought to the District Court that suggest these practices are discriminatory.

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

D.C. has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description).

Reporting stop details

Achieved:

A new data update in July 2019 allows D.C.'s Metro Police Department (MPD) to collect stop data broken down by age, race, gender, use of force (including pat downs), and presence/confiscation of a firearm. The data is publicly available on the MPD's website.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

D.C.has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

Some Progress:

In June 2020, D.C. passed emergency legislation that, among other things, "modified the composition of the Police Complaints Board, moving from a five-member board with one Metropolitan Police Department representative, to a nine-member board with one member from each Ward, plus an at-large member, and no police representatives." Notably, the bill did not address police prosecution.

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

D.C. has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

Some Progress:

As of 2016, there were 869 active MPD Crisis Intervention Officers in the field. CIO's receive the individual training that teams noramlly receive in Crisis Intervention Training programs across the nation. Though the officers are trained in crisis intervention and encouraged to bring mentally ill individuals to a hospital rather than a jail, this program still dispatches police to mental health crisis situations.

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

Some progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer.

D.C. Council's newest budget includes increased funding for student social/emotional learning (redirected from school security funds) and violence interruption/ restorative justice (funds redirected from the Metropolitan Police Department)

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

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