District of Columbia Protective Services Police Department

District of Columbia Protective Services Police Department
District of Columbia Protective Services Police Department
Common name DC Protective Services
Abbreviation PSPD (previously PSD)
Washington, D.C. Protective Services Police.jpg
Shoulder patch.
Current PSPD Officer Badge design
Motto Justitia Omnibus
"Justice For All"
Agency overview
Formed 1973
Preceding agency DC Government Protective Services Division
Dissolved District of Columbia Special Police Force
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Washington D.C. in the national capital of District of Columbia, United States
Legal jurisdiction District of Columbia
General nature
Operational structure
Officers 100
Civilians 20
Agency executive Lou Cannon, Chief of Police
[1] http://dgs.dc.gov
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.
PSPD cruisers holding a perimeter in SW DC
PSPD sergeant on a traffic detail
PSPD cruiser on patrol in Downtown Washington DC
Typical setup of PSPD cruiser cockpit
PSPD personnel in roll call
2011 PSPD Cruiser Redesign
2011 PSPD Cruiser Redesign

The District of Columbia Protective Services Police Department (PSPD) is a law enforcement agency in the District of Columbia, codified under § 10-1005 of the DC Code, which establishes the "...Protective Services Police Department, which shall coordinate and manage the security and law enforcement requirements for District government facilities." The Department is administratively a division of the DC Department of General Services.[1]

PSPD officers are sworn law enforcement personnel with full police authority throughout the District of Columbia.

PSPD shares its radio frequencies[2] and mobile computer infrastructure with its brother agency, the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC). PSPD utilizes MPDC district booking stations and central cell block in order to process prisoners and also participates in staffing the District of Columbia Fusion Center with Intel personnel. PSPD members are deployed into MPDC Districts for patrol assignments and answer radio runs throughout their assigned district alongside MPDC members. Newly hired recruit officers receive their initial basic law enforcement training at the Maurice T. Turner Institute of Police Science (MPDC Police Academy).

In September 2009, Mayor Adrian Fenty signed an Executive Order officially changing the name of the agency from the Protective Services Division (PSD) to the Protective Services Police Department (PSPD).

PSPD officers carry the same equipment as their MPDC counterparts, with the standard duty weapon being the GLOCK 17, 9 mm handgun. Officials of the rank of Captain or higher may carry the GLOCK 19, 9 mm handgun, while Investigators have the option of carrying the GLOCK 19 or GLOCK 26, 9 mm handguns.


Transfer to the Department of General Services

Mayor Vincent Gray ordered PSPD to be transferred from the Department of Real Estate Services to the newly created Department of General Services (DGS), effective October 1, 2011. The specific legislation ordering the transfer was attached to the FY2012 Budget Plan, was approved by the DC Council and US Congress and subsequently signed into law by Mayor Vincent Gray. As a division of the Department of General Services, PSPD will begin to assume more primary responsibility for the DC Public School System as well as other duties delegated by the Mayor and Director of the Department of General Services.

As DGS is a new "super-agency" with the third largest operating budget of any DC Government Agency, many aspects of the new agency's responsibilities and mission have yet to be ironed out, however PSPD, as an Administrative Division of DGS, will remain the primary law enforcement agency responsible for safeguarding District Government Property, Personnel and Elected Officials as well as for planning and coordinating various District Government Security Programs.

Areas of Responsibility and Primary Jurisdiction

  • John A. Wilson Building (Seat of Government)
  • Historic Eastern Market
  • DC Government Office Buildings (Reeves Center, One Judiciary Square, Municipal Center, Southwest Towers, etc)
  • DC Jails and Halfway Houses throughout the city
  • DC Department of Youth and Rehabilitation facilities and Halfway Houses throughout the city
  • DC Department of Mental Health facilities, including St Elizabeth's Hospital and Halfway Houses throughout the city
  • DC City Parks, Recreation Centers and Pools
  • DC Public Charter Schools occupying surplus DCPS school buildings
  • DC Public Schools
  • DC Public Library System
  • DC Office on Aging Facilities including 2 Nursing Homes
  • DC Fire and EMS Headquarters, Fire Stations and facilities
  • DC Department of Human Services Homeless Shelters
  • DC Department of Human Services Welfare Offices
  • DC Department of Health Community Health Care Clinics (Unity Health)
  • DC Animal Shelter and associated facilities
  • DC Water treatment plants and facilities
  • DC Department of Public Works yards and facilities
  • DC Department of Transportation yards and facilities
  • DC Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Headquarters
  • DC Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters and facilities
  • DC Office of Unified Communications facilities (911 centers, communications towers, etc)
  • DC Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (Parole and Probation)
  • DC Department of Motor Vehicles Service Centers
  • DC Village Campus
  • DC General Campus
  • ST Elizabeth's Campus
  • DC Sports and Entertainment Authority facilities (RFK Stadium, Nationals Stadium, etc)
  • DC National Guard facilities
  • DC Department of Employment Services One Stop Centers and facilities
  • DC OCTO Data Centers
  • DC Child and Family Services Agency facilities

  • PSPD provides police support to other District Agencies such as DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, DC Department of Health and DC Child and Family Services Agency and many others in order to support that agency's mission thru PSPD's law enforcement authority.
  • PSPD is charged as the lead agency in securing, safeguarding and escorting the District of Columbia's Strategic Medicine Stockpile during times of crisis or during major National Events occurring in the nation's capitol.
  • PSPD provides Executive Protection Details to members of the DC Council and Executive Branch Agency Officials on an as-needed basis.
  • PSPD provides uniformed police support to the Mayoral Executive Protection Detail on a 24/7 basis.
  • PSPD is charged with ensuring the integrity of Primary and General Elections thru securing and escorting election equipment, election officials and ballots during elections.
  • PSPD is charged with ensuring Continuity of Government during times of crisis or civil disorder by securing key DC Government Officials and moving them to secure locations.


PSPD is broken into three Bureaus; each of which is commanded by a Deputy Chief or Civilian Equivalent.

  1. Patrol Operations Bureau (POB) - uniformed police patrols throughout the city, with concentration on critical government centers and high crime areas around government facilities. Members of POB are routinely deployed in support of major incidents throughout the city including protests and demonstrations and often work in support of MPDC's Special Operations Division (SOD) and DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
  2. Operational Support Bureau (OSB) - investigations, intelligence, training, development, internal affairs, special events, Wilson Building Command, Honor Guard and K-9.
  3. Strategic Services Bureau (SSB) - electronic security systems, citywide credentialing, communications and IT support. SSB is also responsible for designing and writing emergency response plans for District agencies including the Emergency Evacuation/Relocation Plan for the District Government.
  4. Office of the Chief of Police (COP) - administrative and executive support operations, includes the Chief of Police, Assistant Chief of Police, Operations Manager (Civilian Deputy Chief Equivalent), 2 Commanders, 1 Captain and several additional civilian employees.

At present PSPD employs approximately 100 sworn officers.


Lou Cannon is currently the Chief for the PSPD and a Deputy Director of the Department of General Services. He is one of seven November 2010 appointees to President Barack Obama's Federal Salary Council.

Chief Cannon brings 30-plus years of progressively responsible law enforcement and security experience to this position. Prior to his selection as Chief of PSPD, for the past three years he was Chief of Police of the Office of Naval Intelligence, in charge of day-to-day police and security functions, emergency preparedness and anti-terrorism operations. Additionally, he served more than 20 years as an Metropolitan Police Department officer/supervisor and received over 150 commendations.

Chief Cannon has held security/law enforcement positions in both the private sector along with federal and municipal sectors which include the Library of Congress Police and the United States Mint Police. He has made over 1,000 arrests in his career, for offenses ranging from misdemeanor violations to homicide. In 2007 Chief Cannon completed his seventh consecutive term as head of the Fraternal Order of Police in the District.

Fallen officers

Since the establishment of the Government of the District of Columbia - Protective Services Division, which later became the Protective Services Police Department, one officer has died in the line of duty.

The cause of death is 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

Rank Structure

PSPD utilizes a rank structure similar to MPDC:

Title Insignia
US-O9 insignia.svg
Assistant Chief
US-O8 insignia.svg
Deputy Chief
US-O7 insignia.svg
US-O6 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
MPDC Sergeant Stripes.png
Lead Police Officer
First Class Stripes - Blue w-White.png
Police Officer

See also

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

Updated by Sgt. Tasha Ginger, PSPD 11 July 2011

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