Bowser names Newsham as police chief

Mayor Muriel Bowser named Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham as the police chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Thursday.

Newsham has spent 27 years in MPD, including 14 years as the assistant police chief under former Chief Cathy Lanier.

Newsham became the interim police chief after Lanier left the department to run security for the NFL in August. In November, Deputy Mayor Kevin Donahue said in a testimony to the D.C. Council that Bowser chose to first find a chancellor of public schools before searching for a new chief.

Bowser said at the press conference that in the search for a chief, she prioritized finding someone who believed in community policing, and that Newshman had focused on community relations during his time as interim chief.

“In short, Chief Newsham has shown that he values and respects the residents of Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said.

Newsham said at the conference that he was humbled and honored by the opportunity and thanked MPD officers for their work and dedication to public safety.

“As chief of police, our team at MPD will be committed to unbiased, fair, constitutional policing and everyone will know it not just because we say it, but because we do it,” he said.

During the search, experts said the new police chief needs to focus on improving community relations, and the mayor should choose a leader who aligns with her political views.

Under Newsham, MPD has added a sector system to increase the accountability and response time for officers. Newsham has also said he plans to hire 360 officers this year to build up the department, as he officially takes the lead on a department with a dwindling number of officers.

Newsham rose from being commander of the Second District – which includes Foggy Bottom – to the assistant chief of the Office of Professional Responsibility and assistant chief in charge of ROC-North before becoming the assistant police chief under Lanier, according to MPD’s website.

Jacqueline Thomsen contributed reporting.

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