Washington DC is policed by several different law enforcement agencies. What are the responsibilities of different agencies? It can be very confusing since the nation's capital is a federal district with a local government. Following is a guide to the law enforcement agencies and police departments that serve and protect the District of Columbia. As you encounter these officers, keep in mind that most agents can be identified by their agency patch, badge, and ID number.
DC Metropolitan Police Department
The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia is the law enforcement agency for Washington, DC. It is one of the ten largest police forces within the United States and employs approximately 4,000 police officers and 600 support staff members. The local police department works with many other agencies to prevent crime and enforce local laws. Residents can sign up for DC Police Alerts to find out about crimes in their neighborhood. The Metropolitan Police Department sends emergency alerts, notifications and updates to your cell phone and/or e-mail account.
- 24 Hour Emergency Number: 911
- City Services: 311
- Toll Free Crime Tip Line: 1-888-919-CRIME
- Text tip line: 50411
National Park Service Police
The unit of the Department of the Interior provides law enforcement services in National Park Service areas including the National Mall. Created in 1791 by George Washington, the United States Park Police predates the existence of the National Park Service and has served the nation’s capital for more than 200 years. U.S. Park police officers prevent and detect criminal activity, conduct investigations, and apprehend individuals suspected of committing offenses against Federal, State and local laws.
In Washington DC, U.S. Park Police patrol the streets and parks near the White House and assist the Secret Service in providing protection to the President and visiting dignitaries.
- U.S. Park Police 24 hour Emergency Number: (202) 610-7500
The United States Secret Service is a federal investigative law enforcement agency that was created in 1865 as a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department to combat the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. In 1901, following the assassination of President William McKinley, the Secret Service was authorized with the task of protecting the president. Today, the Secret Service protects the president, vice president, and their families, the president-elect and vice president-elect, visiting heads of foreign states or governments and other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States, and official representatives of the United States performing special missions abroad.
The Secret Service has served under the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. The headquarters is located in Washington, DC and there are more than 150 field offices located throughout the United States and abroad. The Secret Service currently employs approximately 3,200 special agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division officers, and more than 2,000 other technical, professional and administrative support personnel.
Metro Transit Police Department
Law enforcement agents provide security for the Metrorail and Metrobus systems in the tri-state area: Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The Metro Transit Police has more than 400 sworn police officers and 100 security special police who have jurisdiction and provide protection for passengers and personnel. The Metro Transit Police Department has a 20-member anti-terrorism team in place to deter a terrorist attack in the Metro system. Since the 9/11 attacks, Metro has expanded its chemical, biological, radiological detection programs.
In a new program designed to keep the system safe, the Metro Transit Police conducts random inspections of carry-on items at Metrorail stations.
- 24 Hour Contact: (202) 962-2121
U.S. Capitol Police
The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) is a Federal Law Agency that was established in 1828 to provide security for the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington DC. Today the organization is comprised of more than 2,000 sworn and civilian employees who provide a full range of police services to the Congressional community enforcing regulations throughout the congressional buildings, parks, and thoroughfares. The U.S. Capitol Police protects Members of Congress, Officers of the United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, and their families.
- 24 Hour Emergency Number: 202-224-5151
Public Info: 202-224-1677
There are dozens of additional small law enforcement agencies that protect specific buildings and agencies in Washington DC including the Pentagon Police, the Supreme Court of the US Police, Amtrak Police, Zoo Police, NIH Police, Veteran's Administration Police, Library of Congress Police, the US Mint Police and more.