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Statement Upon Being Named Chief of Police

Tuesday, April 21, 1998
Statement from the Metropolitan Police Department

I am honored and humbled that you have selected me to be the next Chief of Police for the District of Columbia, and I am truly excited by the prospect of leading this police department into the new millennium. The Metropolitan Police Department is a good police department—with good and talented people within its ranks, and a good citizenry supporting it. But "good" is simply not good enough for me. I will expect more from the men and women of the MPDC, from the members of the community, and from myself. I will expect—and accept—nothing less than the MPDC becoming the finest police department in the nation. And I will expect—and accept—nothing less than the District of Columbia assuming its rightful place as the safest major city in the United States.

Today is a new beginning for the Metropolitan Police Department—with a new attitude, a new confidence, a new set of expectations for the future. What can you expect from the MPDC of the future?

  • You can expect a police department rooted in, and guided by, certain core values: honesty, integrity, respect for one another and for the community, fairness, dedication, commitment, and accountability for individual actions and organizational results. I will live these values every day I am your Chief. And I will insist that all the members of the MPDC do the same.
  • You can expect open, honest and ongoing communications between the MPDC and our customers, the community. I am committed to establishing a close and lasting partnership between our police officers and our residents. And I recognize that to create such a partnership will require the continuous sharing of ideas and information. I, personally, will set the example when it comes to communication, internally and with the community. In the short term, I intend to hold town hall meetings throughout the District and visit roll calls and other meetings with my personnel—all to hear what's on their minds and to solicit new ideas. For the long term, I intend to establish new and efficient ways of gathering and sharing information with the community—through regular community meetings, through new technologies such as the Internet and cable television, through being accessible to the news media, and in everyday contact with citizens.
  • You can expect an efficient, well-managed police department. A police department that attracts and retains a diverse group of qualified and highly motivated professionals. A police department that provides superior training, both to its recruits as well as experienced members. A police department that provides its members with the equipment, technology and information they need to do their jobs. A police department in which the organization supports—and does not interfere with—the work of its officers. And a police department that is efficiently staffed to respond quickly to crime hot spots, while being flexible enough to anticipate emerging crime problems through a greater presence in the neighborhoods.
  • You can expect safer communities and an improved quality of life in all neighborhoods. Ultimately, these are the bottom-line measures of success. I intend to be successful through a new community policing model that responds to the needs of the District. Defining and implementing this new policing model will take some time. But two elements of this new strategy will be certain: partnerships with the community and a problem-solving approach to crime reduction and control.

These are some of the changes you can expect from me, personally, and from the Department as a whole under my leadership. At the same time, the Metropolitan Police Department will expect some changes from the community as well. First and foremost, we will expect the community to recognize that responsibility for the safety of this District goes well beyond the police. The police have a unique and central role in public safety, and the MPDC will fulfill that role with honor and distinction. But responsibility for our communities also rests with residents, business people and their employees, other municipal agencies, elected officials, and everyone else who has a stake in our collective future.

As Chief of Police, I will provide all of these stakeholders with new and meaningful ways to get involved with the police in enhancing neighborhood safety. But I will also expect that the community will step forward and take advantage of the opportunities the MPDC provides. We will continue to need the community's eyes and ears; we need you to call the police when you see crime. But we will need your minds and bodies as well. We will need all stakeholders to roll up your sleeves and work with us in the difficult but rewarding task of solving neighborhood crime problems and strengthening communities.

Expect excellence, expect success. That is my message to the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department, to the people who live and work here in the District, to the political leadership of the District, to the news media, to all. You have placed an enormous trust in me. For that, I am grateful and extraordinarily proud. With your support, I will do everything in my power to live up to the trust and responsibility you have placed in me.

Together we can make the Metropolitan Police Department the best police department there is. And together we can make this City—our nation's crown jewel—the safest major city in the country. Today is the start of a new beginning for all of us.