Bars and clubs around the District may see a significant decrease in police security over the coming months, as a Metropolitan Police Department program subsidizing the cost of privately hired officers faces heavy cuts.

MPD’s budget was cut by nearly $8 million for 2011 as a part of a series of budget cuts made by former Mayor Adrian Fenty at the end of 2010, according to the Proposed Gap-Closing Plan.

The MPD Reimbursable Detail Program was designed to allow D.C. businesses to hire off-duty MPD officers at half the officers’ usual wage. The difference was paid by the city government’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. After the budget cuts, however, the ABRA will only pay one quarter of officers’ wages, forcing businesses to either foot the bill, hire fewer officers or stop using off-duty officers altogether. Off-duty officers are barred from providing security to bars outside of the program, according to Gwendolyn Crump, acting director MPD of communications.

Cuts to the program totaled $500,000, according to the Washington City Paper. MPD’s presence on the whole may be considerably lower in the future due to cuts across the board. Crump, however, said that MPD is ready to face the budget cuts due to careful planning.

“For the past four years, even before fiscal pressures had a significant impact on the District’s budget, Chief [Cathy] Lanier has focused on increasing the efficiency of available resources,” she said in an email.

But while a lower police presence could lead to increased crime, one Georgetown student at least is unconcerned by the potential decline of MPD cars in the neighborhood.

“I don’t like the decline in security, but with the passing of the new noise violation law, maybe a lower police presence isn’t such a bad thing,” Tommy Petriccione (COL ’14) said.

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