Public Safety

Public safety has become a prominent, if not the prominent, issue for District residents and businesses in the last few years. The Federal City Council (FC2) is working cooperatively with stakeholders across the District to advance targeted and comprehensive public safety solutions.

“We continue to believe the city must have a robust, viable public realm, and to do that, we must go back to first principles,” said Anthony Williams, FC2 CEO and Executive Director. “To have a vibrant public realm, it must be founded on a base of public safety. You have got to feel safe with your family, in your business and in your community to have a prosperous and vital city.”

Toward that goal, the FC2 has launched its Public Safety Initiative by creating an open line of communication with policymakers, voicing concerns about rules and systems that may contribute to crime, identifying policy sticking points, providing educational resources, and encouraging public officials to work collaboratively to respond to the District’s troubling crime rates.

A Multi-Government Challenge

The structure of the District’s criminal justice system is a patchwork of local and federal agencies, making it near impossible to find a single jurisdictional solution to resolve ongoing issues with the criminal justice system and to advance public safety.

Washington, DC, represents a master class in complexity: multiple police forces safeguard the city; both local and federal prosecutors handle responsibility for prosecuting youth and adult offenders; K-12 educational challenges have accelerated after the pandemic; and a backdrop of volatility has resulted in widespread economic and workforce trends.

This complexity is a particular feature of the DC criminal justice system. If the MPD makes an arrest, most adults are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the District (USAO), which is an office within the U.S. Department of Justice. The DC Attorney General prosecutes youth offenders. DC’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services oversees arrested youth, but many of those youth offenders and most adult offenders are, ultimately, supervised by federal agencies.

The DC Jail is under local control, but a majority of residents who are in prison are in federal prison facilities. To close the loop on this piecemeal system, DC judges are appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

FC2 is playing a critical role in bringing groups together to find solutions across jurisdictions and reaching out to key figures who can make a difference in their fields, whether local or federal decision-makers.

We encourage our members to volunteer to serve on the Public Safety Initiative.
Contact Becky Strauss, FC2 Director of Economic Initiatives, at, to learn more about these opportunities.