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The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, also known as the DC Police, DCPD, MPD, DC Metro, and MPDC is the municipal police force for Washington, D.C.marker It is one of the ten largest police forces within the United Statesmarker.


Upon the establishment of the District of Columbia, the states of Marylandmarker and Virginiamarker appointed constables to patrol the city. In 1802, the city was given police primacy and appointed a Captain of the Watch and 15 watchmen. The modern-day Metropolitan Police Department was officially formed on August 6, 1861 in accordance with the personal wishes of President Abraham Lincoln, who had taken a personal interest in the establishment of regular police for the nation's capital.


The department's duties include the provision of police services to the city and its inhabitants and to supplement the various Uniformed Federal Law Enforcement agencies (primarily U.S.Secret Service, U.S. Park Police, and U.S. Capitol Police) in the city, with whom the department exercises concurrent jurisdiction. Additionally, due to its location within an independent federal city, the department must exercise the standard functions of a local police force and also handle certain activities normally considered within the domain of a county police or state police agency such as a sex offender registry.


The current Chief of Police is Cathy L. Lanier, who began her career as a MPDC patrol officer, and is the first female chief of the department. She assumed her post on January 2, 2007, replacing Charles H. Ramsey, who had served under former Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and is now Philadelphia Police commissioner.

Ranks of the MPDC

There are eleven ranks in the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia:

Title Insignia
Chief of Police
Executive Assistant Chief
Assistant Chief
Master Patrol Officer
Patrol Officer First Class
Patrol Officer

Police districts


The department maintains 4,050 sworn officers and 600 civilian support staff, making it one of the ten largest police forces within the United States. The department historically has been known for hiring a large number of African American police officers during times when African American police officers were uncommon in other police departments. In 1968, African Americans constituted 25% of the department's force and in 1970 constituted 35% of the department's force the highest percentages of African American police on a large police department at the time. In 1978, the department became the first police department in a major city in the United States to become majority African American. The department currently has one of the highest percentages of African American officers amongst United States Police Departments, at 66%. The remainder of the department is 28% White, 5% Hispanic, and 1% Asian. Males account for 76% of the force, while females make up 24%.

In media

Author James Patterson features Washington DC police detective Alex Cross in the Alex Cross series of books.

The syndicated CBS television series The District dramatized the daily goings on of the police department.

In the 1997 film Murder at 1600, an MPD homicide detective (portrayed by Wesley Snipes) investigates a murder at The White Housemarker.

The TV series NCIS has several references to Metropolitan PD, with several interactions with the Local LEO and NCIS.

The 2009 season of the TV series 24 on Fox starring Kieffer Sutherland has featured the MPDC in a few episodes which centers around a terrorist plot against the White House. The MPDC are shown working with the FBI and other major government agencies.

In the movie True Lies, Arnold Schwarzenegger knocks a Metro Police Officer Mounted Unit to the ground and confiscates his horse for the pursuit of a terrorist.

Fallen officers

Since the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Department, 120 officers have died in the line of duty.

The cause of deaths are as follows:

Cause of death Number of deaths
Aircraft accident
Animal related
Automobile accident
Bicycle accident
Duty related illness
Gunfire (Accidental)
Heart attack
Motorcycle accident
Struck by streetcar
Struck by vehicle
Vehicle pursuit
Vehicular assault

See also


External links

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