Peter Newsham is Washington D.C.’s police chief. He has been with the D.C. police force for 31 years.
Newsham will step down from his job, which pays him nearly $300,000, right after Joe Biden is inaugurated. He will become the police chief of Prince William County, Virginia, a D.C. exurb, earning a salary of a little more than $200,000.
Newsham’s resignation continues a trend of big city police chiefs stepping down in the wake of BLM-inspired attacks (rhetorical and physical) on the police. Recently, the chiefs in Dallas, Seattle, and Rochester resigned.
Newsham has been a fairly progressive police chief. He mandated body-worn cameras before many other departments did, and he supports a number of reforms being pushed in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
Newsham has had the support of D.C.’s liberal mayor, Muriel Bowser. However, he has clashed repeatedly with the leftist city council.
He spoke out bitterly after the council cut $15 million from the police budget. He accused the council of “abandoning his force,” noted that victims of homicide were “getting lost in the conversation” over policing changes, and decried the council’s move as a “knee-jerk” reaction to demonstrators.
There’s a good chance that, next May, the council would not have approved retaining Newsham. Thus, his resignation can be viewed as preemptive.
However, my sense is that Newsham no longer wanted to serve in D.C., given the anti-police sentiment that prevails among city council members. Better to serve in Prince William County with its much lower crime rate and its pro-law enforcement leadership. Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega told the Washington Post that she was “impressed by [Newsham’s] willingness to stand up to the DC City Council’s attacks on his officers and efforts to cut tens of millions from the police budget earlier this year.”
The D.C. council’s anti-police sentiment is reflected in the reaction to Newsham’s resignation of council member Trayon White, the anti-Semitic moron who claims that Jewish financiers control the climate. He tweeted:
I don’t see no one crying about Newsham leaving.
Maybe not, but as homicides rise, D.C. residents are demanding more police patrolling of their neighborhoods. Perhaps one day they will see the connection between cutting police funding and less patrolling, and stop electing clowns like Trayon White who want to slash the police budget even more.