Contee successor should ‘get to the root of the problem,’ says DC community organizer

Chief Robert Contee will step down in June before beginning his new role with the FBI, and one D.C.-based community organizer is speaking out about how she hopes to see the next police chief support the city, and the work that may involve.

Members of the nonprofit organization Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, including co-founder and executive director Nee Nee Taylor (second from left). (Courtesy Harriet’s Wildest Dreams)

Nee Nee Taylor, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, said she knew back in late 2020 that the job Contee had agreed to take on would be challenging — and she’s watched as he’s taken on the challenges involved with making D.C.’s streets safer.

“I know what Chief Contee wanted to do for the city, but I also told him that he wasn’t Superman,” Taylor said. “He really wanted to, I think in his heart, re-imagine safety. But so much trust was lost because of the police system.”

Contee was officially confirmed as Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department in May 2021, after more than three decades of rising through the MPD’s ranks.

As crime across the District has risen in recent years, and now, as the city prepares for Contee’s successor, Taylor said she hopes to see a new leader who encourages proactive initiatives.

“Get to the root of the problem, which is poverty, housing, lack of jobs,” Taylor told WTOP

She says her organization, described as a “Black-led abolitionist community defense hub centering all Black lives most at risk for state-sanctioned violence in the Greater Washington area,” will continue to support the city and hopes for a strong working relationship with the next police chief.

As Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council work to fill the position, Taylor said she also hopes to see more grassroots initiatives supported by the crisis response coalition.

She wants Contee’s replacement to “actually hold agencies accountable.”

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

Dana Sukontarak

Dana Sukontarak is a Digital Writer/Editor for She loves haiku poetry, short sci-fi stories and word games. She grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and currently lives in Silver Spring.

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