D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham Resigns


Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham will resign his post after the inauguration to head up the police force at nearby Prince William County, Virginia, on Feb. 1. The news was announced on the evening of Nov. 24.

Newsham, who has served as MPD chief since 2017, joined the department in 1989, moving up the ranks in various jobs, including that of commander of the Second District, which among other neighborhoods patrols Georgetown.

In a statement, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that Newsham “led the department through a time of great change and challenge for our city and our nation.”

Bowser added that she would name an acting chief soon. (D.C. is now seeking both a permanent police chief and a permanent fire chief.)

Criticized by some members of the District Council during the summer amid the Defund the Police movement and the downtown protests, Newsham reacted by saying that the Council had “completely abandoned” his officers. One outgoing member, David Grosso, called for Newsham’s resignation in July.

Working without a contract, Newsham was set to discuss an extension with the legislative body next year. A few in the city had already spoken privately about his impending departure.

Still, District Council Chairman Phil Mendelson released the following statement on Nov. 24 after learning of Newsham’s resignation: “I am as surprised as everyone else at the news of Police Chief Newsham’s decision to leave MPD. I am sorry to see him leave after roughly three decades — a lot of service to the citizens of the District.” Mendelson continued: “Yet this presents an opportunity to try new approaches to law enforcement and new strategies to fight violent crime. We’re losing a good cop, but sometimes a fresh face can be a good, too. The Council stands ready to work with Mayor Bowser to find the best candidate to succeed Chief Newsham.”

“After 31 years, it’s time for a change, and I saw the opportunity in Prince William,” Newsham told the Washington Post. “It’s a county that’s growing, a county that needs good policing like any part of [the District].”

In moving to Prince William, Newsham will be taking a pay cut. His annual annual salary will be $215,000, according to Prince William County spokeswoman Sherrie Johnson. Last year, the Washington Business Journal reported that Newsham’s MPD salary was $282,716.

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