The Metropolitan Police Department’s new Second District commander is not a stranger to the Foggy Bottom Campus.
Duncan Bedlion, a double alumnus, was promoted to the commander of the Second District earlier this month after former Commander Melvin Gresham, who worked for MPD for more than 30 years, retired. Bedlion graduated from GW with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2003 and earned a master’s degree of professional studies in security and safety leadership in 2014.
He lived in the Second District from 1999 to 2008 during and after his time as an undergraduate and currently lives with his family in another neighborhood, according to an email sent out to the community on Jan. 11 announcing Gresham’s retirement.
Bedlion, who has worked for MPD since 2006, most recently served as the commander of the Youth and Family Services Division. Bedlion has also held other leadership roles in the department, including captain of MPD’s Fifth District and manager of the Seventh District’s detective unit.
Bedlion will manage patrol staff in the Second District, respond to “major incidents,” oversee the implementation of new policies and procedures and communicate with community members about safety concerns, he said.
“My goal is to be as communicative as possible about ongoing safety precautions, alerts and updates to situations without compromising the effective policing strategies that we have in place,” he said in an email.
As a member of MPD, Bedlion works under Police Chief Peter Newsham, who tapped him for the position. He said that in his new role, he wants to continue Gresham’s “legacy” with constitutional and unbiased policing.
“The Chief feels like Commander Bedlion has the full experience to serve as the 2D commander,” MPD spokeswoman Alaina Gertz said.
Having worked with different departments throughout D.C. and in different investigative and criminal capacities, Bedlion said he hopes to pull from his experiences when assisting community members in the Second District.
“I hope that my experience as a former resident of 2D provides insight to the concerns of the community,” he said in an email. “I believe this experience will serve me well as the members of the Second District seek to exemplify our motto, ‘We Are Here To Help.’”
Bedlion said he and other MPD officials want to alleviate residents’ “fear of crime” in D.C.
“I want citizens to feel safe,” Bedlion said. “I don’t want them to have any sense that a crime that’s intrusive is becoming a problem. We want to make sure that we catch the perpetrators and that we restore property when we do recover it to the rightful owners.”
Bedlion added that he is planning on attending a Foggy Bottom Association meeting to listen to concerns from people in the neighborhood. He added that the GW Police Department will be the “primary faces of security” on campus, but MPD plans to “actively” occupy neighborhoods around the University.
“I believe in a lot of face-to-face type of encounters, so while I love email and tend to be super responsive to email, I want to also have a lot of face-to-face encounters with the community and stakeholders in Foggy Bottom,” he said.
Gresham, the former Second District Commander, declined to say why he decided to retire, why he retired immediately and what he will do professionally after leaving the department.
He also declined to say whether he plans to stay involved in the Second District community and what initiatives he has established in the District that he wants Bedlion to continue.
In an email sent to community members on Jan. 8, Gresham wrote that he decided to retire to “explore the private sector,” adding that he has “truly valued both the partnerships and friendships” he developed during his time at MPD.
“I have been both blessed and honored to have been the commander of such a great community, and I will always cherish my service at the Second District,” Gresham wrote. “This experience has made me not only a better manager but an even better human being.”