The D.C. Council unanimously confirmed Robert Contee III, the acting chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, as the permanent head of the agency at a meeting Tuesday.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser named Contee as her next pick for chief of police in December after Peter Newsham announced he would step down from the role to head the Prince William County Police Department. Councilmembers said they plan to hold Contee “accountable” amid ongoing calls to implement police reform, urging him to collaborate with the Council to support public safety during his time at MPD.
“I have hope that based on the vision that acting chief Contee has put forward, that curbing abusive policing practices will be a top priority for the chief as well, and reimagining the way we pursue public safety here in the District,” Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George said at the meeting.
Contee, an alumnus and D.C. native who has worked for MPD for 31 years, said he plans to prioritize community engagement and a reduction in violent crime.
“It has been my distinct honor to serve this city for all of my adult life,” Contee said at a press conference in December. “You can expect me to model the behavior that I expect from you. You can expect fairness, and I expect you to be fair with members of the community. You can expect me to build relationships because we cannot have partnership without relationship.”