Due to the unfortunate events of Jan 6, 2021, the previously obscure US Capitol Police has been much in the headlines. The Capitol Police are the police force of Congress and the chief reports to the Capitol Police Board, itself a shitshow within a shitshow. On Sep 13, 2021 the USCP announced an emergency declaration which will go into effect about the time of the Sep 18 demonstration and allow the USCP to deputize outside law enforcement officers as United States Capitol Police Special Officers. In other words, they will actually have a contingency plan in place this time.
Many people confuse the federal Capitol Police with the Metropolitan Police Department, which is the police force of the government of the District of Columbia. The Capitol Police is a police force of roughly 2,500 employees (including non-LEOs), roughly half the size of the DC police force. For reasons which TMITE seems incurious about, the Capitol Police did not request backup from MPD on Jan 6. There are roughly thirty law enforcement organizations operating in Washington, DC. A staggering number of law enforcement organizations for a city of 690,000 people living on 68 square miles of (mostly) land.
Act up on the National Mall, Washington Monument, or the big three Memorials? You’ll encounter the United States Park Police, a full-service police department! They possess both state and federal authority. Established by George Washington as the Park Watchmen in 1791 and existing as an independent agency until 1849. The Park Police are not to be confused with that other law enforcement organization that is part of the National Park Service, the National Park Service Law Enforcement Rangers; these are the people who will respond if you report a stolen picnic picnic basket in Yellowstone Park.
Finding the exact number of law enforcement organizations operating in DC is difficult, but the best starting point is the MPD list of cooperative agreements with federal law enforcement agencies. The list contains thirty-two agencies; add one for the Metropolitan Police Department themselves, and another for the Transit Police.
The list itself is quite revealing of the satrapies and mandarinates that exist within the swamp. Congress has its own police force, the abovementioned US Capitol Police. That is perhaps legitimate as an exercise of separation of powers, but it should be noted that most federal judicial security is provided by the executive branch through the US Marshal Service. SCOTUS, being special, has its own little police force. We can’t find a picture of Marshal of the US Supreme Court Gail Curley in her SCOTUS Police uniform, so we can’t snark about how many stars she has on her uniform for supervising roughly two hundred people. Please note that even though she is styled “marshal,” she is not part of the USMS.
For a half century the Library of Congress had its own separate police force which is still on the MPD list, but that organization has since been merged into the Capitol Police. The Smithsonian, which includes the National Zoo, at one time had four separate police forces, which have since been merged into the Smithsonian Institution Office of Protection Services.
So, about that Metro Transit Police Department:
MTPD police officers have jurisdiction and arrest powers throughout the 1,500 square mile Transit Zone that includes Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia for crimes that occur in or against Transit Authority facilities. It is the only tri-jurisdictional police agency in the country and serves a population of 3.2 million.
Sounds impressive until you remember that only a fraction of those people are on a bus or train, or in a station, at any given time. What’s scary is how far removed from elected oversight of the citizens of DC, Maryland, and Virginia this police force is. Whenever government, or particularly multiple governments, create a multi-jurisdictional authority or corporation you can be sure that shenanigans will follow.
We created an Internal Oversight and Youth Services Bureau (IOYSB) to oversee the MTPD’s increased role with youth in the region, improve recruiting and screening of police applicants, and the department’s strategic planning. Within the IOYSB, the MTPD created a Youth Services Unit to provide more specialization and consistency when engaging with young people in our system and local schools. Also under the IOYSB is the Office of Strategic Planning, which is updating our Standard Operating Procedures, General Orders, and Procedures Manual. -Chief Pavlik
Schools? WTF are subway guards doing in schools? And they are, of course, a union shop.
The number of federal LEOs potentially operating in DC is probably higher. Remember the infamous US Department of Education SWAT Team? They are absent from the list. As is the US Department of Agriculture OSSD Executive Protection Operations Division, which in this time of pants-shitting can probably handcuff you if you fart in the general direction of the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Boll Weevil Eradication:
The mission of the Executive Protection Operations Division (EPOD) is to provide executive-level personal protection to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and other designees. With an elevated threat of possible violence faced by Presidential Cabinet-level Secretaries, both within the United States and abroad, as well as the need for Continuity of Operations / Continuity of Government in the event of a national emergency, it was mandated by Congress that all Cabinet-level Secretaries who are in succession to be President of the United States have an executive protection detail.
So be careful out there, Glibs.