By Ashleigh Fields,
AFRO Assistant Editor,
After 30 plus years of service, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee III effectively retired on June 3. As a native to the District, he shared that his experiences in the Carver Langston neighborhood inspired him to become a cadet at 17 years old. Contee became a member of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in 1989 and hasn’t looked back since.
“I will tell you that it has been my greatest honor to serve as chief of police,” said Contee, in a video announcing his official retirement. “Director Christopher Wray of the FBI has appointed me as assistant director of the FBI and I will be moving on to a new opportunity that I am very excited about.”
Contee was chosen to serve as the Assistant Director of the Office of Partner Engagement, a new role that will allow him to continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies across the nation.
“Chief Contee was sworn in four days before January 6, 2021. Since his first week on the job, and over the past 33 years, he has been making Washington, DC incredibly proud,” Mayor Muriel Bowser released in a statement. “He has been a phenomenal ambassador of what it means to be a police officer in DC – brilliant, compassionate, and determined to build a DC where all people feel safe and are safe.”
Contee was selected to lead the force on Dec. 22 of 2020 and worked to keep the city safe during major events, like the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. In addition, Contee also served during a majority of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Mayor Bowser is working to find a permanent replacement, she hired Ashan Benedict as Interim Chief of Police.
Benedict previously served as the Executive Assistant Chief of Police at MPD since April of 2021. He was on the scene during major events including the U.S. Capitol insurrection, the terrorist attack on the Pentagon and a D.C. Navy Yard active shooter incident.
“I am very confident in the abilities of Ashan Benedict and the team of the Metropolitan Police Department,” Contee said in a statement. “I think the mayor has made an excellent choice to ensure that operations involve community, to ensure that the focus on community continues.”