Robert Contee officially confirmed as DC police chief

Robert Contee was officially confirmed as the District’s new police chief Tuesday.

The D.C. Council voted unanimously to approve his nomination.

Though Contee’s nomination soared through the council without a dissenting vote, several members said they had high expectations for the new chief.

“I am looking forward to Chief Contee improving MPD’s transparency, improving officers morale by holding each member of the force accountable for their actions with swift, decisive action, rooting out our bad cops, and that he can be counted on to work with community to restore trust, and public safety goals and objectives,” At-Large Council member Anita Bonds said.

Ward 7 Council member Vince Gray said he was “proud” to cast his vote for Contee “with the recognition that he’s going to work with people around the District of Columbia, that he’s going to bring the kind of respect and engagement that we know we want to have in the form of a chief of police.”

Gray said he also wants to see Contee to take into consideration recommendations that are coming from the police commission.

Trayon White, who represents Ward 8, said he’s never seen, “in my 36 years, the onslaught of violence on women and children in the community. … I do have assurance that we have a good chief in Chief Contee, that’s from Washington, D.C., to understand the culture of the community and is very professional and diligent about addressing issues around public safety.”

At-Large Council member Robert White called out D.C. police’s gun recovery units and the “practice of illegal stops and frisks. These are also known as jump outs.”

“These are the kinds of police practices that erode trust and terrorize communities. And they must end,” White said. “I plan to hold Acting Chief Content accountable on this and every issue.”

Contee, a Washington native, took over as acting chief in December 2020, when Peter Newsham headed to Prince William County.

When he was tapped by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, she called it a “full circle” for Contee, who joined the department as a cadet in 1989.

“He was born and raised here,” the mayor said. “He is confident that MPD can lead the way and serve as a blueprint for a modern-day police department, a department that can be used in new and better ways to be reduced violent crime and continue to engage the community.”

Contee has said he’s a “proud son of the nation’s capital.”

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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