Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia

Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Metropolitan Police Department
Abbreviation MPD
Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.jpg
Patch of the Metropolitan Police Department
Motto Justitia Omnibus
"Justice For All"
Agency overview
Formed 1861
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Legal jurisdiction District of Columbia
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Judiciary Square
Henry J. Daly Building
300 Indiana Avenue NW
Officers 4050
Civilians 600
Agency executive Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of Police
A parked MPDC cruiser.
Bo, the Obama family dog, sits in a DC police cruiser.

The Metropolitan Police Department, also known as the DC Police, DCPD, MPD, and MPDC is the municipal police force in Washington, D.C. It is one of the ten largest police forces within the United States.[1]



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.[2]


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 the United States Secret Service, United States Park Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation Police, and United States Capitol Police in the city. 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 Metropolitan Police 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 the commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department.


There are eleven ranks in the Metropolitan Police Department:

Title Insignia
Chief of Police
US-O10 insignia.svg
Executive Assistant Chief
US-O9 insignia.svg
Assistant Chief
US-O8 insignia.svg
US-O6 insignia.svg
US-O5 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
MPDC Sergeant Stripes.png
Master Patrol Officer
MPDC Corporal Stripes.png
Patrol Officer First Class
First Class Stripes - Blue w-White.png
Patrol Officer / Detective

Police districts

  • First District [1]
  • Second District [2]
  • Third District [3]
  • Fourth District [4]
  • Fifth District [5]
  • Sixth District [6]
  • Seventh District [7]


The department maintains 4,050 sworn officers and 600 civilian support staff,[2] making it one of the ten largest police forces within the United States.[1] 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.[3] In 1968, African Americans constituted 25% of the department's force and in 1970 constituted 35% of the department's force[4] 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%.[5]


Vehicle Country of Manufacture Type Notes Picture
Ford Crown Victoria  United States Cruiser MPDC cruiser 130.jpg
Chevrolet Impala  United States Cruiser 06-09 Chevrolet Impala police.jpg
Ford Taurus  United States Cruiser MPDC cruiser 364.jpg
Ford E-350  United States Van MPD E-350 No63 2010-10-30.JPG
Ford F-550  United States Truck Used by the MPD Special Operations Division MPD SOD F-550 No8649 2010-10-30.JPG

In media

Author James Patterson features MPD 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 House.

The TV series NCIS has several references to Metropolitan PD, with several interactions with local law enforcement and NCIS.

The 2009 season of the TV series 24 on Fox starring Kiefer Sutherland has featured the MPD 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 MPD Mounted Unit to the ground and confiscates his horse for the pursuit of a terrorist.

In the Film The Invasion Nicole Kidman's character is caught in an altercation with an infected MPD officer.

Fallen officers

Since the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Department, 121 officers have died in the line of duty.[6]

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

Portal icon Washington, D.C. portal
Portal icon Law enforcement/Law enforcement topics portal


  1. ^ a b About the MPDC
  2. ^ a b Brief History of the MPDC
  4. ^ What the Police Can--And Cannot--Do About Crime
  5. ^ Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers
  6. ^ Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia Fallen Officers

External links

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