About the Metropolitan Police Department (Washington, DC)
In 1790, Maryland and Virginia ceded portions of their territory for the purpose of establishing the
Federal City. For the next 10 years, the Federal City was policed by constables appointed by these two states. In 1802, when
the original charter of Washington was approved, police authority was centralized and power was granted to the city itself
to establish patrols, impose fines, and establish inspection and licensing procedures. Until the creation of the Metropolitan
Police Department in 1861, the city had only an auxiliary watch with one captain and 15 policemen.
Today, the Metropolitan Police Department includes more than 4,400 members—approximately 3,800
sworn police officers and more than 600 civilian employees. Today's Metropolitan Police Department (Washington, DC) is committed
to the same proud ideals and traditions of the department in its earlier years. And while serving and protecting the community
remains central to the Metropolitan Police Department (Washington, DC) mission, the department is also committed to building
safer neighborhoods in partnership with the community.
Today's Metropolitan Police Department (Washington, DC) remains a remarkably diverse department. Nearly
one in four of all sworn officers is woman, placing the MPDC among the national leaders in this regard. And Cathy L. Lanier
made history when she was named the first female chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (Washington, DC), beginning in
2007. Approximately 70 percent of the Metropolitan Police Department (Washington, DC) sworn members are black, Hispanic or
Asian, meaning that the department closely mirrors the makeup of the resident population it serves. As the Metropolitan Police
Department strives to maintain its rich diversity, the department has also raised its hiring standards and taken other steps
to enhance the professionalism of the force.