Public Health and Safety

"Every resident in every neighborhood deserves a safe place to live, work, play, and learn." -- Kent Boese
 

Safe communities are essential for Washingtonians and businesses alike to succeed. To achieve this the District needs infrastructure in good repair, well-staffed and funded social service agencies, and to strengthen relationships between residents, business owners, and the police officers in our communities.
 

Infrastructure

Healthy and safe communities start at home. Every neighborhood needs streets and sidewalks that are in good repair, street lights that work, and public spaces where neighbors can gather. Following are a few of Kent’s efforts to ensure that that the District’s built environment is a safe environment.

  • Is an advocate for replacing all District’s lead service water lines to eliminate lead from the city’s water supply (read resolution here);
  • Recommended that DDOT adopt the American Medical Association’s recommendation for LED streetlights to be 3,000 Kelvin or less (read resolution here);
  • Has successfully directed DDOT to improve failing sidewalks throughout Ward 1;
  • Is an advocate for expanding the bike lane and protected bike lane network throughout the District (see advocacy for Park Place, NW).
  • Requested a study from DDOT to improve safety for all forms of transportation around the triangle park at Park Place and Rock Creek Church Rd., NW.

 

Social Services

Homelessness and mental illness are issues that not only diminish the safety of those who are in need of assistance, but often impacts the District’s ability to effectively focus on broader crime issues. Today, many police officers in the District spend much of their time on calls to service that include social service issues. When not calling the police, neighbors concerned with homelessness often contact the Department of Behavioral Health of a similar organization. Yet our social service agencies are frequently underfunded and understaffed. It is essential to provide them with the resources they need to take the lead on social service issues in partnership with MPD that brings the right approach to the right challenge.
 

 

Police

Like many residents Kent monitors and engages MPD on local list serves and at Police Service Area meetings. But to achieve the highest level of public safety possible he believes that we need to have a police force connected to our neighborhoods, that works in collaboration with social services agencies, and that has the resources necessary to meet the needs of a growing city.

On Police Districts
In 2011 the areas of Ward 1 north of Park Road/Monroe Street along with Mount Pleasant were transferred from the Third to the Fourth Police District. Kent opposed the MPD redistricting and will focus on restoring all of Ward 1 to a single Police District. The current Police District boundaries split neighborhoods and make it difficult for the community to have a comprehensive understanding of crime in their community and build collaborate relationships with MPD. Restoring the entire Ward to a single Police District will improve communication, accountability, and service to all residents of Ward 1.

On Dedicated Plain Clothes Police Officers
In 2015 Washington’s plain clothes police officers were centralized. Kent strongly opposed this decision and will advocate for the return of dedicated Ward-based plain clothes policing. Ward 1’s most serious public safety issues rely on information gathering so that the right actions and services can be involved for superior outcomes. While many residents work well with local police officers and city services, no amount of community activism and reporting can substitute for on-the-ground community policing.

 

 

 

 


Additional Reading

"We must find ways for more police officers to afford to live and work in our communities so that we know them as neighbors, creating a stronger relationship and better understanding of community challenges. Our officers should be walking our neighborhoods, talking to the community, and getting to know us on a personal level."

Boese, Kent. (2018, May 21). Candidate QuestionnaireACLU of DC.

 

"We need to create a framework where calls for domestic violence, for example, result in both a police response and a social service response. It is impossible to tell which service is required more when calls come in and it doesn’t serve us well when we don’t have the correct support response."

Boese, Kent. (2018, April 13). Candidate QuestionnaireJews United for Justice Campaign Fund.

 

"Despite overall neighborhood progress, some blocks have not changed in 20 years – blocks where poverty, substance abuse, and hopelessness lead to overdoses, shootings, and homicides. These locations are well known to MPD and they have done everything in their power to address them, however we are never going to arrest our way out of the problem. The cycle of hopelessness needs to be broken and that isn’t going to result from police action."

Boese, Kent. (2018, April 12). Candidate Questionnaire. Afro-American.

 

"At a recent community meeting, Boese says a police officer told a group of citizens there are two officers detailed north of Park Road NW, and that the area needs more like seven. Crime stats support this assertion."

Anderson, Jeffery. (2017, September 28). Ward 1 Council Candidate Kent Boese Takes Loose Lips on a Neighborhood Walk. Washington City Paper.

 

“Public Safety is something I take very seriously, and while much of the work I do is directly with MPD and individual neighbors, there are times when a more public approach needs to be taken if we truly want to have safe communities.”

Boese, Kent. (2017, August 31). Statistics Show Overall Crime in Park View Up. Park View DC [Blog].

 

“I believe we currently have police officers who are disconnected from the communities they serve for a variety of reasons.”

Boese, Kent. (2017, July 3). MPD Investigating Whether Officers Hit Boy and Left Scene. Park View DC [Blog].

 

“For Kent Boese, the chair of ANC 1A who lives in Park View but whose commission covers central Columbia Heights, the 14th Street strip could benefit from more consistent information sharing between residents and officers as well as more “sustained” police presence.”

Giambrone, Andrew, (2016, August 11). Withering Heights: Playground shootouts, bleach attacks, and overpriced housing: Columbia Heights in decline. Washington City Paper.

 

"The elimination of plainclothes officers stationed in our communities was a misstep that likely has more to do with MPD’s attrition rate than it does with the changing nature of crime. It was equally disheartening that our Councilmember’s response to concerned residents seeking a return of dedicated plainclothes officers was that of equating plainclothes policing with jump out squads."

Boese, Kent. (2016, July 6). Opinion: PoPville Op-Ed’s Indictment of Columbia Heights ‘Difficult to Agree With’ [Op-Ed]. Borderstan [Blog].

 

“I still don’t think it’s the best solution,” said Boese, who wants the police department to have more officers.

Zapana, Victor & Williams, Clarence. (2011, July 13). Graham, residents assail D.C. police redistricting plan. The Washington Post.

 

“Kent Boese was watching television in his Northwest Washington home when he heard a series of popping sounds. So he did what has become natural to thousands of D.C. residents eager for up-to-the-minute information about crime in their neighborhoods. He sent an e-mail.”

Labbé-DeBose, Theola. (2009, June 22). Online -- and in the Loop -- With D.C. Police. The Washington Post.

 

 

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