District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III is trading his role in the capital for one in federal law enforcement. Contee will be retiring from the Metropolitan Police in June and taking a position as an assistant director of the FBI.
During Contee’s tenure, Washington saw a significant surge in homicides and other crimes. The city had more than 200 murders in consecutive years for the first time in almost two decades.
There were 203 homicides in 2022 and 226 in 2021. This is more than double the homicide rate seen as recently as 2012.
Washington is now notoriously unsafe.
But the Metropolitan Police Department can’t fight the ongoing crime crisis if the D.C. Council’s anti-police bill remains in place.
Today, the House will pass my resolution to block this misguided legislation. pic.twitter.com/AKR0blegWP
— Rep. Andrew Clyde (@Rep_Clyde) April 19, 2023
The outgoing chief received considerable praise from the D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser (D). Bowser said that he led the Metropolitan Police Department with “passion and purpose.”
“He has pushed our criminal justice system to do more and be better,” she said.
Contee’s tenure as chief was relatively short, beginning in January 2021 in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 protests.
Contee released a statement on Jan. 1 regarding the surge of crime, stating that the department is “focused on community policing and building bridges in every neighborhood to stop violence from even occurring in the first place.”
He also wrote that firearms violence “is an epidemic that is tearing life from our city.”
During the current difficulties in D.C., the city council passed a new law that reduced the number of sentences for violent crimes, which was vetoed by Mayor Bowser. The council then overrode the mayor’s veto.
However, a Republican-led effort in Congress signed by President Joe Biden overturned the law.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the proposed law a “soft-on-crime criminal code rewrite that treated violent criminals like victims and discarded the views of law enforcement.”
Crimes that would have had reduced sentences included burglary, carjacking and robbery.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) stated that the D.C. council’s efforts were done in a “completely unserious way.” He added that the bill was one that would “make residents and visitors less safe.”