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MPDC Chief Robert Contee, III in Conversation w/ Dr. George Derek Musgrove – Sponsored by National Capital Bank
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This moderated in-depth conversation will explore Chief Contee’s compelling personal story: native Washingtonian who grew up in the Carver Terrace neighborhood, participated in Marion Barry’s Youth Leadership Institute, became a police cadet at 17 years old and joined the department while a senior in high school. In 2021 he was confirmed as Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, the first Black Chief since 2007. The discussion will also reflect on the major shifts in the city’s landscape over the past few decades as well as examine 21st century policing in the District. Dr. Musgrove is Associate Professor, History, UMBC and the co-author of the acclaimed Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital.
The event will be in-person at Hill Center and streamed live on our Facebook page.
Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration
Now in its 7th year, Hill Center’s Benjamin Drummond series honors America’s first liberated enslaved people with scholarly and celebratory programs that bring together a diverse group of prominent experts, artists, and public figures throughout the year to explore the Civil War and its aftermath from the African American perspective. Named for the Old Naval Hospital’s first patient, a young African American seaman taken prisoner by Confederated ships, Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration marks 160 years since President Abraham Lincoln signed The District of Columbia Emancipation Act, which freed DC’s over 3000 enslaved people nearly nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation.
About the Chief: Chief Robert J. Contee, III, grew up in the Carver Terrace community in Northeast, Washington, DC, and is a DC Public Schools graduate. He joined the Metropolitan Police Department as a police cadet in November 1989. After graduating from the police academy, he quickly rose through the ranks, serving in a variety of assignments. He started as a patrol officer in the Third District, and served as a sergeant in the Second District and the Metropolitan Police Academy. As a lieutenant, he served in the Second District and led the Intelligence Branch. In January 2004, Chief Contee was promoted to captain responsible for leading the Violent Crimes Branch, including the Homicide Branch and the Sexual Assault Unit.
Chief Contee was promoted to Second District commander in August 2004 and was transferred to the Special Operations Division (SOD) in April 2006, where he was responsible for overseeing tactical patrol, special events and traffic safety functions. Following his post at SOD, Chief Contee became commander of the Sixth District in 2007, before taking command of the Recruiting Division in October 2014. He was named commander of the First District in January 2016, and was appointed Assistant Chief of MPD’s Professional Development Bureau in the summer 2016 where he oversaw the Human Resources Management Division, Disciplinary Review Division, the Metropolitan Police Academy, and Recruiting Division. In April 2017, Chief Contee was named Patrol Chief of Patrol Services South (PSS), which included his oversight of the First, Sixth, and Seventh Police Districts. He was named Assistant Chief of the Investigative Services Bureau (ISB), in March 2018.
On December 22, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that she had selected Chief Contee to serve as the next Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department. He was sworn in as Acting Chief of Police on January 2, 2021. On May 4, 2021, he was officially confirmed Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies with a concentration in Police Science from George Washington University. He has also completed the Management College at the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration and the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) of the Police Executive Research Forum in Boston, Massachusetts.
About Dr. Musgrove: George Derek Musgrove, Associate Professor, History Department at UMBC, teaches courses in Post-WWII United States History with an emphasis on African American politics. He is the author of Rumor, Repression, and Racial Politics: How the Harassment of Black Elected Officials Shaped Post-Civil Rights America (U. of Georgia, 2012), and co-author, with Chris Myers Asch, of Chocolate City, A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital (UNC, 2017). His latest project is “Black Power in Washington, D.C.” (firstname.lastname@example.org) a web-based map of Black Power activism in the nation’s capital between 1961 and 1998. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, National Public Radio, the New York Times and The Root. He is currently working on a book project tentatively titled “We must take to the streets again”: The Black Power Resurgence in Conservative America, 1980-97, which explores the burst of black activism that rose in opposition to the urban crisis and the conservative retrenchment.
The Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration series is made possible by National Capital Bank, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, Capitol Hill Community Foundation