Dear Representative Garbarino,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 5798, the “Protecting Our Nation’s Capital Emergency Act.”
In January of this year, the Washington, D.C. City Council enacted the “Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act (CPJRAA),” without the signature of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser. This measure stripped away the right of officers serving the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to bargain collectively with the city over disciplinary procedures—a right that every other city agency still has. It also repealed the requirement that the MPD must commence discipline against their officers within 90 business days, which will result in abusively long disciplinary investigations that violate the Constitutional rights of these officers. The CPJRAA also provides for the disclosure of disciplinary records—including personally identifiable information—potentially placing these officers in jeopardy.
Recognizing the egregious impact on MPD and public safety in the District of Columbia, Congress took the highly unusual step of offering H.J. Res. 42, a resolution disapproving of the new law and blocking its implementation. The House passed the measure on a bipartisan 229-189 vote and the Senate adopted the resolution on a similarly bipartisan 56-43 vote. Regrettably, the resolution was vetoed by President Biden and the House fell short of an override effort. The President noted that he did not support every provision in the CPJRAA, which included “commonsense police reforms.”
The legislation you have introduced will undo the most egregious and harmful provisions in the D.C. law—provisions that the House and the Senate were united in opposing. The bill would restore the collective bargaining rights, non-disclosure protections, and disciplinary protocols of MPD officers that were lost in the implementation of the CPJRAA This legislation is of great importance to the men and women of the MPD and the safety of the residents, visitors, and workers in our nation’s capital.
On behalf of the more than 373,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for your leadership on this critical issue. If I can provide any additional assistance on this effort, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.