Updated: Nov. 24, 2020 at 10:00 p.m.
The District’s chief of police will depart the Metropolitan Police Department, according to a press release Tuesday.
Peter Newsham, the chief of MPD, will serve as the chief of the Prince William County Police Department, according to the release. Newsham will start his new position on Feb. 1, the release states.
“I am excited to join the team and look forward to making a difference in the community,” Newsham said in the release.
Newsham has directed MPD since he was hired in 2017, when he said he planned to foster community relations and bolster officer morale in the department. He has recently faced elevated criticism for his handling of police behavior in response to racial justice protests earlier this year and the police shooting of Deon Kay in September.
An MPD spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
The release states Newsham was selected as the “top candidate” of a nationwide search for a new police chief that featured a public survey and a hiring process with more than 50 applications from the District and 16 states.
Prince William County’s department led the search through its contracted recruiter, GovHR USA, who vetted the candidates during the recruitment process where Newsham “distinguished himself,” the release states.
“We are happy to welcome Chief Newsham to Prince William County and the level of expertise he brings to the position,” Prince William County Executive Chris Martino said in the release.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement that Newsham led MPD during a time of “great change and challenge” in the District, and an interim chief will be announced “soon.”
“We thank Chief Newsham for 31 years of service to the residents of the District of Columbia,” Bowser said.