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Security Personnel Guide to Metropolitan Police Department Directives

The Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is authorized to issue orders, rules, and regulations governing conduct and controlling police activity. Written Directives are the means to document and communicate these policies, rules, regulations, and procedures, and are necessary to establish clear limits to the broad discretionary authority of a police officer. The Department develops and maintains written directives that reflect its mission and values, while providing policy and procedural guidance required for members to conduct their duties in a professional manner.

Our written directives may also be helpful to security personnel and agencies who are curious about MPD policy regarding important laws and regulations in the District. Upon visiting MPD’s “Directives for Public Release,” security personnel will find the following:

  • Circulars (CIR) – provide information of general interest to Department members or directions for specific programs. Circulars may include announcements, report writing instructions and updates on District of Columbia (D.C.) Official Code and District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) and amendments.
  • Executive orders (EO) – establishes Department policy, rules, regulations, procedures, and roles and responsibilities. They expeditiously amend policies, procedures, and responsibilities without the issuance of a new or updated directive.
  • General orders (GO) – establish Department policy, rules, regulations, procedures, and roles and responsibilities typically affecting more than one component of the agency.
  • Special orders (SO) – establish Department procedures, and may set policy when time is of the essence. They may relate to a general order, or may be developed to support a specific program.

Security personnel have access to all public Department directives. They may be particularly interested in the following topics, which could serve as a good resource in their places of work and for interacting with the public.

For additional information, the Policy Development Branch can be contacted in writing at MPD headquarters.


This article is part of the MPD’s “Security Snapshot” series, which is designed for security personnel working in the District of Columbia. While this information may be of interest to the general public, any recommendations or guidance in these articles has been created with a focus on security personnel.