By Bill Carey
WASHINGTON – The Metropolitan Police Department’s top officer, Chief Robert Contee III, announced his retirement from a department he joined through the police cadet program as a 17-year-old student at Joel Elias Spingarn High School.
His tenure as chief began amid concerns about personnel and morale, with him serving as interim chief from early January 2021, just before the January 6 uprising, until his official confirmation on May 4 of that year, NBC Washington reported .
“It has been my greatest honor to serve as your police chief,” Contee said in a short video.
While serving as chief, Contee dealt with an increase in violent crime, particularly gun violence involving young people. The number of youth shooting victims increased during the period from January 1 to April 20 each year Contee was chief.
During those four months, there were 15 incidents where young people were victims of gun violence; in 2022 there were 19 incidents and in 2023 there have been 32 incidents so far.
“As long as we have a gun problem in this city, and as long as we have people continually pulling illegal firearms into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, we will continue as a department to focus on recovering illegal firearms . weapons,” Contee said.
Department staffing has dropped nearly 12%, from 3,800 sworn officers when Contee became chief to 3,362 in April.
Contee will work at FBI headquarters in DC. NBC Washington reported that Contee is excited about his upcoming job change. His last day with MPD will be June 3.