January 7, 2021 at 6:19 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. police chief nominee has record of LGBTQ support
Robert J. Contee, gay news, Washington Blade
Robert J. Contee III (Photo courtesy MPD)

Veteran D.C. Police official Robert J. Contee III, who Mayor Muriel Bowser nominated on Dec. 22 to become the city’s next Chief of Police, has a long record of understanding and support for LGBTQ-related issues, according to retired D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson.

Parson, who is gay and headed the D.C. police branch that oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit among many other assignments, called Contee “the right person at the right time for MPD and policing nationwide.”

Bowser nominated Contee for the police chief’s position shortly after former D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham announced he was leaving his post to become chief of police for Prince William County, Va. The D.C. Council, which must vote to confirm Contee’s nomination, was expected to begin the confirmation process, including a public hearing, later this month or early February.

“Robert Contee is a friend, mentor, and colleague of nearly 30 years,” Parson told the Washington Blade in an email message. “I have worked for and with him many times throughout my career with MPD,” Parson said. “I was thrilled to see him named as our next Chief of Police.”

Added Parson, “Rob’s support of me personally as a gay man has never wavered.” Parson noted that Contee has asked him about how his life partner was doing nearly each time he and Contee saw each other.

“He is a people person, who is comfortable in every setting, to include LGBTQ+ events and scenes where our community has been impacted,” said Parson. “Our city, agency, and the LGBTQ+ community will benefit from his leadership, vision, and compassion for others.”

Contee, who was born and raised in D.C., began his tenure on the D.C. police force as a patrol officer in 1989 and worked his way up the ranks as a commander of three of the department’s seven districts before being named assistant chief for two key bureaus that involve overseeing the police academy, criminal investigations, human resources management, and youth and family services.

He held the position of Assistant Chief for the department’s Investigative Services Bureau at the time Bowser nominated him for the chief of police post. Contee was sworn in by the mayor on Jan. 2 as Acting Chief of Police while his confirmation is pending before the D.C. Council.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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