D.C. police chief retires, takes up new job with FBI

Chief Robert Contee began his law enforcement career as a teen in the department’s high school cadet program

By Bill Carey 

WASHINGTON — The Metropolitan Police Department’s top cop, Chief Robert Contee III, announced his retirement from a department he joined through the police cadet program as a 17-year-old student at Joel Elias Spingarn High School. 

His tenure as chief began amid concerns about staffing and morale, with him serving as interim chief from the beginning of January 2021, just before the Jan. 6 insurrection, until his official confirmation on May 4 of that year, NBC Washington reported.  

“It has been my greatest honor to serve as your chief of police,” Contee said in a brief video. 

While serving as chief, Contee dealt with an increase in violent crimes, especially gun violence involving young people. The number of juvenile shooting victims rose during the period from Jan. 1 to April 20 each year Contee was chief.  

During those four months there were 15 incidents where young people became victims of gun violence; in 2022, it was 19 incidents, and in 2023 there have been 32 incidents so far. 

“As long as we have a gun problem in this city, and as long as we have people who are continuously pulling out illegal firearms, in the hands of people who should not have them, we will continue as a department to focus on recovering illegal guns,” Contee said. 

Department staffing is down almost 12%, from 3,800 sworn officers when Contee became chief to 3,362 as of April. 

Contee will work at FBI headquarters in D.C. NBC Washington reported that Contee is thrilled with his upcoming job change. His last day with the MPD will be June 3. 

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