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John Knutsen

John Knutsen
Commander, Internal Affairs Division

John Knutsen, currently serves as Commander for the Internal Affairs Division (IAD). Prior to his promotion in March 2023, Knutsen served as an Inspector in the Internal Affairs Division.

Commander Knutsen has almost two decades of experience within the Metropolitan Police Department. He began his career in February 2004 as an officer assigned to the Seventh District where he served in several units, including specialized enforcement units targeting gun and narcotics arrests. In 2009, he received the award for District Officer of the Year for the Seventh District. Promoted to sergeant in February 2010, Knutsen served in the Fourth District where he worked proactively to develop new personnel at the officer rank and was responsible for handling major crimes and events within his District.

In July 2014, Knutsen was promoted to lieutenant where he was transferred to the Tactical Information Division. He managed numerous technological systems as well as the department’s CCTV unit. Knutsen performed analysis on the effectiveness of various department technologies and assisted in the assessment of new product offerings in consideration for department purchase. He also assisted with assignments within the Homeland Security Bureau, such as providing terrorism briefings to various business sectors, and working on incident response planning with other public safety agencies.

In April 2016, Knutsen was promoted to Captain, and assumed duties as assistant district commander in the First District. He also oversaw the First District administrative section and planned strategic personnel deployments. Knutsen received the First District Captain of the Year Award in 2017. The following year in November 2018, he served in the role of Executive Officer for Patrol Services South. As Executive Officer, he worked with district commanders to ensure the Assistant Chief’s priorities and goals were being implemented, all while concurrently working as a 2019 Summer Crime Initiative (SCI) Captain for the Benning Ridge/Marshall Heights community. In this role, he earned the awards for overall crime reduction and the highest number of SCI gun recoveries.

Knutsen was promoted to Inspector in September 2019, and took over as the Director of the Internal Affairs Division. As Director, he oversaw the division charged with investigating serious misconduct and serious uses of force. He provided on-scene response to all officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. Knutsen implemented changes in use of force and misconduct investigations, leading to more thorough and complete investigations. Additionally, he worked with independent, outside auditors to expand the scope of IAD investigations, as well as improve the quality of the investigations. Consequently, this resulted in a dramatic reduction in cases being lost or overturned due to missed deadlines and insufficient investigation. In 2021, he earned Inspector of the Year. Recognizing these contributions, Chief Robert Contee promoted Knutsen to the rank of Commander in March of 2023. He remains the Director of the Internal Affairs Division.

Commander Knutsen is an active member of both the D.C. and Virginia bar since 2012. He earned his Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School in 2012 while working full-time as an officer and sergeant. He also holds a Master's of Science in Management from the Johns Hopkins University, which he also earned while employed as an officer with the department.

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