With approximately 3,800 officers and 600 civilian staff, it is the sixth-largest municipal police department in the United States. The department serves an area of 68 square miles (180 km 2) and a population of over 700,000 people.
Established on August 6, 1861, the MPD is one of the oldest police departments in the United States. The MPD headquarters is at the Henry J Day Building, located on Indiana Avenue in Judiciary Square across the street from the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
The department's mission is to “safeguard the District of Columbia and protect its residents and visitors with the highest regard for the sanctity of human life”. The MPD's regulations are compiled in title 5, chapter 1 of the District of Columbia Code.
The MPD has a broad array of specialized services, including the Emergency Response Team, K9, harbor patrol, air support, explosive ordnance division, homeland security, criminal intelligence, narcotics, and the gun recovery unit. The MPD also operates the Command Information Center (CIC) which monitors hundreds of cameras across the city, license plate readers, Shot spotter and many other intelligence and surveillance devices.
They are responsible for operating the District's sex offender registry, approving all applications for motorcades, protests, demonstrations and other public events, and maintain the District's firearm registry. Under the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, whenever the President of the United States determines that special conditions of an emergency nature exist which require the use of the Metropolitan Police for Federal purposes, the president may direct the Mayor to provide, and the Mayor shall provide, such services of the Metropolitan Police force for up to 48 hours.
During longer periods of time, the President must provide to Congress in writing his or her reasons for continuing control of the MPD. This control can be extended at any time beyond 30 days if either the emergency continues or if Congress passes a law ordering it.
During this nature of emergency, the MPD are considered a federal law enforcement agency. As the American Civil War raged on, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln took a personal interest in the formation of a regular police force for the U.S. capital.
Washington had quickly filled with soldiers, government employees, and citizens hoping to cash in on the war. The crowds, crime, and the constant threat of enemy spies, had made the capital into a rowdy city barely under control.
After the formation of the Metropolitan Police and its governing Board of Commissioners by Act of Congress, signed into law by President Lincoln on August 6, 1861, Lincoln dispatched a member of the board to study the New York City Police Department and its structure. The Metropolitan Police replaced previous law enforcement organizations.
Before the formation of the District in 1801, county constables had jurisdiction over the area, along with the comparatively developed police force for the City of Alexandria. Yet another force, the 16-member Auxiliary Guard of the City of Washington, was established by Act of Congress in August 1842, purportedly because President John Tyler had been burned in effigy, and had rocks thrown at him on the White House grounds.
(The Militia of the District of Columbia was created in the Assumption Act of May 3, 1802, active as peacekeepers within the District but tasked with defending the federal government, and commanded directly by the President as a military force, not law enforcement.) Today's badge has changed little from the original. The Metropolitan Police Board unanimously chose one of its members, William Benning Webb who was commissioned as a Major in the army, to serve as the first Chief of Police, the formal title being “Major and Superintendent”.
The First Precinct constituted the portion of Washington County east of the Anatolia River, while the Second Precinct included the county territory north of Washington City and between the Anatolia and Rock Creek. The Third Precinct comprised the remainder of Washington County west of Rock Creek, including Georgetown and the island of Analyst in the Potomac River.
The Fourth through Tenth precincts corresponded respectively with the First through Seventh wards of Washington City. Beginning immediately, Superintendent Webb worked to organize the department which had an authorized strength of ten sergeants and as many patrolmen as needed, though not to exceed 150.
The majority of the new department was hired by September with the Superintendent of Police salaried annually at $1,500, sergeants received $600, and patrolmen were paid $480. The officers worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week with no holidays or vacation time.
Marshal for the District of Columbia Ward Lemon and United States Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, President Lincoln agreed in November 1864 agreed to have bodyguards, though he felt that the President of the United States should not have found it necessary to have guards at all. Superintendent Webb had four MPD officers assigned the task of guarding the White House grounds and accompanying the president on his walks through the city.
In December 1864, A. C. Richards became Major and Superintendent, a post he would hold through the next 14 years. Richards was present at Ford's Theater the night the President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
In one of the lowest points of the MPD's history, the police officer who was to guard Lincoln that night, John Frederick Parker, had left his post at the door to Lincoln's box, presumably to get a drink at the bar across the street. After Booth had fled the theater, Major Richards, began organizing the activities for investigation until it was taken over by Secretary Stanton.
In the hours immediately after the assassination, MPD officers enforced closures of all places of entertainment and helped seal off the city. They patrolled the streets on horses alongside members of the Military Provost.
That night on April 14, 1865, an MPD detective entered into the daily blotter: At this hour the melancholy intelligence of the assassination of Mr. Lincoln President of the U.S. at Fords Theater was brought to this office and the information obtained ... goes to show that the assassin is a man named J. Walks Booth. A tip provided to MPD detectives indicated that the Surratt boarding house at 614 H Street was linked to the assassination.
The tip would lead to the eventual trial and execution of Booth's conspirators. When they forced the door, the wife of the suspected thief fired at them, striking Doyle in the chest and killing him instantly.
Officer Doyle was a veteran of the Civil War, having served in the US Navy, and had been with the MPD for five years. During his presidency, Ulysses S. Grant was known to speed in his horse and buggy on Washington's streets.
On the fourth occasion, President Grant was arrested on M Street for racing, and his horse and buggy were confiscated. When brought to the station however, the officers became unsure if a sitting president could be formally charged if he had not been impeached.
Grant was allowed to pay a fine but had to walk back to the White House. That year as well, Thomas P. Morgan was named to replace Richards, who had resigned, as Major and Superintendent.
Although a police fund had been established during the MPD's first year to assist those officers injured in the line of duty, Morgan would add to this by establishing a retirement fund for older officers who could no longer perform their duties. On July 2, 1881, the MPD took part in investigating the assassination of President James A. Garfield.
Though Garfield had no bodyguards, MPD Officer Patrick Kearney had been nearby and arrested Guitar before he could leave the station. The officials at the station at first refused to believe Kearney's claims that Guitar had shot the president.
The detective blotter would note the shooting, investigation, and arrest as well as Garfield's death several weeks later. In the summer of 1918, Major and Superintendent Raymond W. William established the Women's Bureau, originally directed by Marion O. Singer.
Most of the officers in the Bureau in 1920 were trained as school teachers, nurses, or social workers, and included one lawyer. On October 7, 1918, Mind Van Winkle was appointed a police officer in the Women's Bureau.
She was known to be extremely outspoken and was an ardent supporter of protection for girls and other women during the law enforcement and judicial process. In January 1919 Van Winkle became director of the Women's Bureau, a post she held till her death in 1932.
This was the early forerunner to the Training Bureau and today's Metropolitan Police Academy. The school expanded the original course work to a three-month period, and brought in outside experts from various fields to instruct.
During Prohibition, the MPD remained active dealing with the organized crime that resulted in DC. During that thirteen-year period, almost 25 officers were killed in the line of duty, mostly due to gunfire and accidents while pursuing rum-runners.
MPD officers confront the Bonus Armoring the Great Depression, over 17,000 veterans of the First World War marched on Washington to demand payment for their service. Known as the Bonus Army, they set up camp in a Hooverville in Anatolia Park.
The marchers remained at their campsite waiting for President Herbert Hoover to take action after Congress rejected a bill to pay the veterans. On July 28, 1932, Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the Metropolitan Police to remove the Bonus Army veterans from their camp.
When the veterans moved back into it, they rushed two officers trapped on the second floor of a structure. The cornered officers drew their revolvers and shot two veterans, William Hush and Eric Carlson, who died later.
In the aftermath of the shooting, President Hoover ordered the military, under General Douglas MacArthur, to disperse the Bonus Army. MPD patch from the 1940s. In December 1951, Robert V. Murray became Major and Superintendent.
He took the command of a demoralized department marred by embarrassments, corruption, and waning public support. During his 13 years as chief, Murray would be credited with making the most sweeping, and longest lasting changes in the MPD's history and is seen as bringing the department into the modern era of policing.
One of his first acts was that he would make rounds of the various precincts, inspecting them and the officers where he promised his support. Murray also made good on his promise to improve conditions for his department.
He went on to improve the MPD's vehicle fleet, initiated the use of canines, radar, helicopters and experimented with hand held radios. It formally abolished the rank and title of Major and Superintendent and replaced it with the position of Chief of Police.
Murray's reforms and efforts improved the image of the department which expanded to 3,000 officers. He and the MPD earned public accolades for their handling of the Transit strikes in the hot summers of 1955 and 1956, the March on Washington, and the funeral of JFK.
Although it did not eliminate racist tensions and discrimination, it moved the department forward towards racial equality. During the four days of violence, the inner part of Washington was devastated in widespread looting and fires, at one point coming within two blocks of the White House.
The rioting ended when 11,850 Federal troops and 1,750 D.C. Army National Guardsmen were called out to assist the overwhelmed MPD. The resulting economic fallout and crime spike would take many areas decades to recover from.
The mobilization of 13,600 troops to assist the MPD in putting down the riot was the largest military occupation of an American city since the Civil War. While on foot patrol, Cobb was tipped off that a suspected bank robber had just fled into a nearby garage.
As she radioed for assistance, the suspect spun around and fired a single shot at point-blank range. The bullet went through her wrist and her police radio and then struck in the chest, killing her.
Pleasant neighborhood, who were upset in the aftermath of a controversial police shooting which exacerbated strained relationships between the city's Hispanic population and the MPD. In 2000, MPD detective Johnny St. Valentine Brown, assigned to the narcotics' division, was convicted of perjury after lying about having a degree from Howard University's School of Pharmacy.
In the wake of his conviction, many drug offenders with cases involving Brown were retried. We had just finished up a meeting when my chief of staff came in and told me I needed to go into his office and take a look at what was going on in New York.
A small plane based on the way it was described must have flown into the building. The MPD activated its newly built Joint Operations Command Center (JOCK).
Officials from various agencies and departments including the United States Park Police, United States Capitol Police, the FBI, Secret Service, and the FAA's military district arrived to respond. Though the Pentagon was located across the river in Arlington County, Virginia, MPD officers still responded to assist with the emergency response.
Additionally, MPD officers working in conjunction with U.S. Park Police officers locked down all Federal buildings along the National Mall, including establishing a perimeter around the White House. MPD Officers form a riot line during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. The U.S. Park Police had sent its two helicopters to assist with operations at the Pentagon.
Shortly thereafter, the flight control tower at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was evacuated. Flight control of all airspace over the Washington metro area was turned over to the U.S. Park Police helicopters who coordinated with NORAD.
Shortly thereafter, an MPD helicopter arrived and took over command and control of Washington's airspace. That evening, after the majority of the population had returned home and Washington's streets lay empty, Chief Ramsey, his Executive Assistant Chief Terry Gainer, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Secret Service Director Brian L. Stafford drove around D.C. to check security measures of the locked-down city.
While several officers also wanted to assist with efforts in New York, many had to remain in D.C. and the majority of the department worked 12-hour shifts several weeks after the attacks. Ramsey noted that at the time many, himself included, thought that there were more attacks to come.
Lanier, who began her career as a Metropolitan Police patrol officer, became the first female chief of the department. She has been singled out in publications for her community-oriented and technology-driven approach to policing that has helped modernize the MPD and lower crime rates.
Lanier departed in 2016 to lead security for the National Football League and was succeeded by Peter New sham, the current chief. On September 16, 2013, MPD officers responded to the Washington Navy Yard for an active shooter in Building 197.
The first, Officer Scott Williams, was hit in both legs during an exchange of gunfire with the shooter, Aaron Alexis. The second, Officer Dorian DeSantis, was a member of MPD's Emergency Response Team.
Officer DeSantis was with U.S. Park Police officers Andrew Wong and Carl Hit and had entered an area of cubicles when Alexis engaged them, striking DeSantis in his tactical vest. Uninjured by the gunshot, DeSantis immediately returned fire and killed Alexis.
During the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, the Metropolitan police were among the agencies called to restore order. Within MPD's Homeland Security Bureau is the Special Operations Division and the Joint Strategic & Tactical Analysis Command Center.
White shirt, blue pants Gold badge Lieutenant Blue shirt, blue pants Silver badge Officer No Insignia Blue shirt, blue pants Silver badge Recruit officer No insignia Tan shirt, tan pants None Recruit Officer is the initial rank of oncoming Metropolitan Police officers, held while undergoing training at the Metropolitan Police Academy.
Master Patrol Officers (MPH) are assigned some field training duties, and hold supervisory authority in the absence of a sergeant. Insignia pinned on each side of the collar and silver cap plates.
Uniformed headgear of all ranks consists of an eight-point hat, similar to those worn by the NYPD and San Francisco Police Departments. Baseball hats are permitted and in the winter a watch cap is authorized for wear.
For decades prior to 2018, the MPD wore light blue shirts. In October 2018 the MPD switched to a new uniform for Officers through Sergeants consisting of an outer load bearing vest with a patch on the back saying “METROPOLITAN POLICE in white lettering.
The new uniform also consists of wool pants with hidden cargo pockets. Their insignia of rank is displayed on the shoulder epaulets of the uniform (as in the military).
The badges and cap plates for higher-ranking officers are gold and engraved with the wearer's rank-title. Members who hold the rank of sergeant or above but are assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division or have investigatory duties, are referred to with the “Detective” title in front, e.g. “Detective-Sergeant”.
Title Notes Detective Requires the passing of a multiple-choice test and completing an evaluation phase. This position holds minimal supervisory authority in a detective unit.
Requires a minimum of seven years of service, five of which must be spent as a Detective II. Persons who are hired by the MPD spend at least 28 weeks at the Maurice T. Turner Jr., Metropolitan Police Academy receiving basic instruction in police work to include laws of arrest, search and seizure, criminal law, traffic regulations, human relations, community policing, and ethics.
In addition to these they receive specialized skill training in emergency vehicle operations, firearms, first aid, and defensive tactics. At the end of the probationary period, officers are certified to patrol on their own, apply to specialized units, and progress through the department's hierarchy.
Cause of Death Number of Deaths Accidental 2 Aircraft Accident 2 Animal Related 1 Automobile Crash 9 Bicycle Accident 1 Drowned 3 Duty related illness 2 Fall 3 Gunfire 61 Gunfire (Inadvertent) 7 Heart Attack 5 Motorcycle Crash 11 Stabbed 1 Struck by a Streetcar 1 Struck by a Vehicle 3 Vehicle Pursuit 3 Vehicular Assault 7 The standard-issue service weapon for MPD officers is the Glock 17 or Glock 19. The Emergency Response Team uses the SIG Sauer P226 9×19mm as the sidearm instead of the standard issue Glock pistols carried by other units and officers in the agency.
The word POLICE is printed in large text on the side of the car, and “MDC”, with the MPD shield splitting MP and DC, on the rear quarter panels of the vehicle. The vehicles are designed and outfitted by Major Police Supply in Laurel Maryland.
For patrol operations the department utilizes the Ford Taurus (Police Interceptor Sedan), Ford Explorer (Police Interceptor Utility), Chevrolet Impala, and the Dodge Charger. The Department also utilizes the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, and Chrysler 200.
These are typically unmarked and are used by detectives and specialty units such as Crime Suppression Teams. The Special Operations Division has a large variety of vehicles including the Dodge Durango, Euro copter AS350B3, Leno Bear cat, and a Freightliner M2 tandem rear axle chassis with a mobile command center van.
In addition to the vehicles used by patrol, the SOD also uses the Ford F-150 Police Responder, Chevrolet Tahoe, Harley-Davidson FLH PTI motorcycles, and many others. This consists of consisting of 830 marked police cruisers, 405 unmarked police cruisers, 170 marked other vehicles (such as vans, SUVs, trucks, and command buses), 29 unmarked other vehicles, 134 Honda-Harley scooters, 60 Harley-Davidson FLH TPI motorcycles, 17 boats, and 34 miscellaneous vehicles, including forklifts, traffic machines, and trailers.
On 9/11/2001 four commercial aircraft were hijacked by members of a terrorist group called Al-Qaeda. All Metropolitan Police Officers were called in to support law enforcement efforts and evacuate the city as well as protect certain buildings.
On 9/16/2013 Aaron Alexis entered the Washington Navy Yard where he was working as a contractor at the time. Alexis would go on to carry out the deadliest workplace mass shooting in Washington D.C. history, killing 12.
He used a shotgun he had legally purchased days before, and a handgun he had taken from a security guard after fatally shooting him during the attack. Alexis' attack lasted 1 hour and 9 minutes before he was fatally shot by a D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer.
Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture, providing citations to, rather than simply listing appearances. The novels of George Pelicans, which are largely set in the Washington, D.C. area, have included several major and minor characters who are active or former MPD officers.
The premise of the novel and film, that an MPD Homicide detective would be the lead investigator for a death that occurs in the White House is factually correct as the MPD has sole jurisdiction over death investigations anywhere in the District of Columbia. The 2009 novel True Blue by David Balance features a former MPD officer as the protagonist and her older sister who is the Chief of Police.
Balance spent time shadowing MPD officers and interviewed Chief Lanier for the novel. The syndicated CBS television series The District (2000–2004) dramatized the daily goings-on of the police department.
The TV series Bones (2005-2017) has MPD officers as characters at crime scenes that are set in Washington, D.C. The online U.S. TV series House of Cards (2013–2018) features the MPD in several episodes, specifically in the first season when they play a prominent role in the development of a cover-up. The TV series Minority Report features the 2065 iteration of the department.
Harrison Ford portrays MPD Internal Affairs Sergeant William “Dutch” Van Den Brock in the 1999 film Random Hearts. In the 2009 film State of Play, two reporters investigate a series of murders in conjunction with MPD.
^ Special Order 17-022: MPD Email Requirements (effective date July 12, 2017). ^ Testimony of Peter New sham, Acting Chief of Police, Performance Oversight Hearing on the Metropolitan Police Department, Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety, Council of the District of Columbia (March 2, 2016).
“Here's how much money goes to police departments in the largest cities across the U.S.” USA Today. ^ “District of Columbia Home Rule Act: Emergency Control of Police ".
^ “An act to establish an auxiliary watch for the protection...” Library of Congress. Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C.: The Civil War and America's Great Poet.
Last week William Hush's Bonus for $528 suddenly became payable in full when a police bullet drilled him dead in the worst public disorder the capital has known in years. While walking her beat, she was tipped off that a suspected bank robber had just fled into a nearby garage.
Officer Cobb located the man and instructed him to place his hands on the wall. As she radioed for assistance, the suspect spun around and fired a single shot at point-blank range.
“Three men shot at the side of their President”, The Washington Post, March 31, 1981. “Ex-Officer Faces Contempt Charge; Former D.C. Detective Falsified Letters, Prosecutors Allege”.
CS1 main: unfit URL (link) ^ “WHITLEY v. United STATES”. ^ “National Park Service Responding to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks” (PDF).
^ Hermann, Peter; Williams, Clarence; Mari mow, Ann E. (August 16, 2016). “D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier steps down to work for the NFL”.
“D.C. police honor courage, dedication of Navy Yard massacre responders”. “Beaten, sprayed with mace and hit with stun guns: police describe injuries to dozens of officers during assault on U.S. Capitol”.
^ DC assistant police chief retires; changes coming to patrol organization”. Special Liaison Branch, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.
“MPD General Orders Police Officer Initial Training Program” (PDF). “MPD General Orders Field Training Program” (PDF).
^ After Action Report Washington Navy Yard September 16 ^ “Metro Transit Police Department | WHAT”. ^ “How Harry Truman's Daughter Inspired a Wesley Snipes Movie”.