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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) recently named Ashan M. Benedict as interim chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He is scheduled to enter his role on May 24.
This announcement comes weeks after MPD Chief Robert J. Contee III announced his transition to the director role in the FBI. In the months before his June departure, MPD will expand a community policing program that Contee said has been in the works since he assumed MPD’s top spot.
“I was delighted when Chief Contee brought up the idea of Benedict coming to MPD to serve,” Bowser said Friday at WAMU studios in Northwest. “I know he’ll do a fine job in deploying our men and women and keeping our District residents safe while the interim search is ongoing.”
Benedict, a force in local and federal law enforcement, has nearly 30 years of experience. He’s becoming interim chief at a time when Bowser has set her sights on quelling the flow of illegal guns. During Bowser’s recent public safety summit, Benedict talked to the Informer about MPD’s efforts, and that of the court system and federal agencies, to stop gun trafficking.
For the last two years, Benedict has managed the day-to-day operations of MPD as executive assistant chief under the direction of MPD Chief Robert J. Contee III. On Jan. 6, 2021, he was on the scene in the U.S. Capitol during the white supremacist insurrection as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)’ on-scene incident commander.
While working at the federal level, Benedict has investigated, not only firearms trafficking but violent drug trafficking organizations, armed robberies of commercial businesses, armed carjackings, gang-related racketeering murders. He was also involved in response to Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 attacks, D.C. Navy Yard shooting, and the Beltway sniper investigation.
On Friday, Benedict said he’s not seeking the permanent MPD Chief role.
“I think I’m better suited to serving the department as executive assistant,” Benedict said. “It’s important to bring consistency to department operations and not have that distraction. My focus is on quelling the violence.”