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Public Safety Update from Mayor Muriel Bowser

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Dear Washingtonians,

This morning, we took another step forward in creating a safer, stronger DC by announcing that Peter Newsham will serve as the next Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief of Police and that Quincy Booth will become the Director of the DC Department of Corrections. Chief Newsham is an experienced, smart, and compassionate officer who respects and values the residents of Washington, DC. A 28-year MPD veteran, he knows how to walk a beat, lead a team, and earn and keep the respect of the people he serves. After Chief Lanier retired, I immediately began the search for our next Chief. I knew that only a handful of people in the nation are qualified to lead our police force, and I wanted to make sure we made the right choice for the people of DC. Over the past several months, it became increasingly clear that if we wanted the best, he was already here.

Chief Newsham joined MPD in 1989 and has served as Interim Chief of Police since September 2016. As Interim Chief of Police, he implemented a number of reforms to make MPD more transparent and accountable. He made himself more accessible to the community, oversaw the full deployment of body-worn cameras, and transitioned MPD to a sector policing model. In January, he oversaw a successful presidential inauguration and ensured that the hundreds of thousands of people who came to DC for the Women’s March on Washington had a peaceful experience. With the eyes of the world watching DC, Chief Newsham and our MPD officers made us proud.

And throughout everything that has happened over the past several months, Chief Newsham has been a constant presence in the community, reminding Washingtonians during these uncertain times that the Metropolitan Police Department is here to help all residents. As my Administration has been out in the community defending our DC values, Chief Newsham has been leading MPD as they do the same.

I am excited about the future of Washington, DC. We are already a thriving city – crime and unemployment are down, graduation and enrollment rates are up, and we continue to attract nearly 1,000 new residents each month. But we know there is more to do – we must ensure that our prosperity reaches every corner of DC and that residents in every neighborhood have a fair shot at a good life. With leaders like Chief Newsham on my team – leaders who genuinely care about the well-being of the people they serve – I know that we will continue to make DC an even better place for people of all backgrounds to live, work, and play.

Thank you to everyone who took our public safety survey or participated in our recent Community Conversations phone call. It is only by working together as a community that we will build a safer, stronger DC. I look forward to continuing to engage with residents – starting tonight at our first Budget Engagement Forum of 2017 – as we continue to find new ways to serve Washingtonians in all eight wards.

Sincerely,

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