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MPD launching new patrol unit, trying something new to combat city’s violent crime

The patrol unit will be primarily deployed on mountain bikes and scooters.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — As D.C. grapples with the death of a 6-year-old girl, a shootout outside Nationals Park, and consistent violent nights, the Metropolitan Police Department announced a launch of a new community-focused patrol unit.

The unit will be made primarily of officers on mountain bikes and scooters, which look like smaller motorcycles.

“I have not been to one community in our nation's capital that has said ‘hey Chief don't send me any police officers over here, we don't want to see them in this community,'" MPD Police Chief Robert Contee said. “That has not been my experience in times where our manpower has decreased by almost 215 officers since October 2020. MPD must more effectively use the more limited resources that we have.”

Contee said the patrols will be deployed to areas data shows are experiencing higher volumes of crime, emerging crime trends, or significant events.

Columbia Heights/Parkwood areas, Bloomingdale, and the Washington Highlands neighborhood will be the first three areas of the unit’s deployment, as selected by MPD crime analysts.

RELATED: Police: $60K reward for information on 6-year-old girl killed, 5 other people injured in Southeast DC shooting

Chief Contee said he’d heard from community members that officers weren’t engaging, but rather sitting in their squad cars.

“This is as a direct result of conversations that I've had with communities,” Contee said. “We want to see police officers out of the cars, we want to see police officers in the community. Well here you have it.”

RELATED: DC police walk "100 blocks in 100 days" to build relationship with city residents

The department previously launched a similar initiative called "100 Blocks in 100 days." Contee said this new patrol unit isn’t different but providing another tool to engage the community.

Those on the new patrol unit volunteered to join it.

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