D.C. was left stunned last month when Chief Pete Newsham announced that he’d be leaving for a post in Prince William County.
Mayor Muriel Bowser's office confirmed on Tuesday that she has selected veteran officer and D.C. native Robert Contee III.
Bowser officially introduced Contee as chief during a news conference later in the morning.
Contee has been on the force for over three decades.
The mayor's appointee delivered an impassioned speech during his introduction, saying that his upbringing in the District as the son of a drug user and dealer uniquiely positions him to deal with the city's problems.
Contee also underscored his intent to involve the community in police decisions.
He will be taking over the department in the wake of a summer of turbulence and unrest surrounding policing in the District and throughout the nation.
Councilman Charles Allen - who was a persistent voice for police reform over the summer - congratulated Contee, but stressed that his appointment is subject to the council's confirmation process.
"I will be looking to hear from the nominee not just about how the Department has changed during his tenure, but about where he wants to take the Department in the future – and how his approach to leadership will address the challenges in public safety and policing that we face as a city," Allen said.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine made positive comments about the new appointment via Twitter:
The DC Police Union issued this statement on the appointment of Contee:
Earlier today, Mayor Bowser announced her selection of Assistant Chief Robert Contee to become the new Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department. The Union welcomes Chief Contee to the position and has full faith that he will execute the job as Chief with experience and leadership.
Of all the possible internal candidates of the MPD, Chief Contee was the favorite of the rank-and-file. Throughout his distinguished 31-year career, he has led with fairness and equitability. Chief Contee cares deeply about the District and will always advance policies that protect its residents.
The Union looks forward to working with Chief Contee and his staff on solving crime in the District’s communities and making the police department one of the best in the Nation.
Bowser has consistently maintained support for the police, but Newsham and the council were sometimes at odds over the funding issues raised by protesters and anti-police-brutality activists.
The American Civil Liberties Union did not provide an evaluation of Contee, but noted that they weren't happy with the mayor's decision to proceed without public comment.
They provided this statement to FOX 5's Stephanie Ramirez:
The next MPD chief will face unprecedented challenges, so we are disappointed Mayor Bowser chose to forgo a selection process that includes community input. We look forward to a robust confirmation process with the D.C. Council and hearing how Assistant Chief Contee will distinguish his leadership from that of his predecessor's.