DC Council member lays out his expectations for new police chief

A key member of the D.C. Council lays out his expectations for the next police chief, as the city begins its search for a new leader once Chief Peter Newsham leaves the post.

Ward 6 council member Charles Allen, who chairs the judiciary and public safety committee, said in a statement it is a “critical moment for policing, public safety and justice across the country” and the District.

He thanked Newsham and wished him well in his new job leading the police force in Prince William County, Virginia. However, he said the departure is an opportunity to determine how the future of policing will look.

“The nation is changing, and law enforcement in the District — and what we expect from a chief of police — must evolve, as well,” Allen said.

Allen put forth the police reform legislation which includes prohibiting neck restraints, or “chokeholds” and was a part of a council vote that approved a police budget cut.

Allen said that the next police chief needs to tackle systemic racism in the city and within the police culture in the force. Similar calls were echoed by the leadership of Black Lives Matter DC following Newsham’s impeding departure announcement.

He added that the new chief must promote a public health approach to eliminate violence and use the law “to demonstrate empathy, humility, innovation and vision.”

The city and Mayor Muriel Bowser have yet to announce plans to search for a new police chief.

“The position demands a challenging combination of qualities to find in a single person,” Allen said. “And I wish Mayor Bowser the best in her search and look forward to working in partnership for a safe and just city.”

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