District of Columbia Protective Services Police Department

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District of Columbia Protective Services Police Department
Common name DC Protective Services
Abbreviation PSPD
Washington, D.C. Protective Services Police.jpg
Shoulder patch.
Protective Services badge.jpg
Current PSPD Officer Badge design
Motto Justitia Omnibus
"Justice For All"
Agency overview
Formed 1973
Preceding agency DC Government Protective Services Division
Dissolved PSD
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Washington D.C. in the national capital of District of Columbia, United States
Legal jurisdiction District of Columbia
General nature
Operational structure
Officers Confidential
Civilians Confidential
Agency executive COL Anthony Fortune
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.
PSPD cruisers holding a perimeter in SW DC
PSPD sergeant on a traffic detail
PSPD cruiser on patrol in Downtown Washington DC
Typical setup of PSPD cruiser cockpit
PSPD personnel in roll call
2011 PSPD Cruiser Redesign
2011 PSPD Cruiser Redesign

The District of Columbia Protective Services Police Department (PSPD) is a law enforcement agency in the District of Columbia. It is administratively a division of the DC Department of General Services.[1] PSPD police officers are sworn law enforcement personnel with full police authority delegated from the Mayor of the District of Columbia. They are allowed to bear firearms, serve warrants and make full custodial arrests anywhere in the District of Columbia.


The PSPD traces its beginnings to an 1899 Act of Congress, the "Watchmen in Municipal Facilities Act", which mandates a police force separate from the Metropolitan Police Department be established in order to maintain law and order in municipal government facilities that at the time were controlled by the federal government. In 1973, the District of Columbia Government Protective Services Division was established to control the police force being transferred from the federal government to the Mayor of the District of Columbia under the Home Rule Act.

Its existence is codified under § 10-1005 of the DC Code, which establishes the "...Protective Services Police Department, which shall coordinate and manage the security and law enforcement requirements for District government agencies and facilities."

In September 2009, Mayor Adrian Fenty signed an Executive Order that changed the name of the agency from the Protective Services Division (PSD) to the Protective Services Police Department (PSPD).

In 2011, Mayor Vincent Gray transferred PSPD from the Department of Real Estate Services to the new Department of General Services (DGS), effective October 1. The legislation ordering the transfer was attached to the FY 2012 Budget Support Act, and transmitted to the US Congress on August 11, 2011, for a 30-day review. Congress took no action, so it became law on September 14, 2011.[2]

As a division of the Department of General Services, PSPD received more primary responsibility for the DC Public School System as well as other duties delegated by the Mayor and Director of the Department of General Services. It remained the primary law enforcement agency responsible for safeguarding District government property, personnel and elected officials as well as for planning and coordinating various District government security programs.

Areas of responsibility and primary jurisdiction[edit]

  • John A. Wilson Building (Seat of Government)
  • Historic Eastern Market
  • DC Government Office Buildings (Reeves Center, One Judiciary Square, Municipal Center, Southwest Towers, etc.)
  • DC Jails and Halfway Houses throughout the city
  • DC Department of Youth and Rehabilitation facilities and Halfway Houses throughout the city
  • DC Department of Mental Health facilities, including St Elizabeth's Hospital and Halfway Houses throughout the city
  • DC City Parks, Recreation Centers and Pools
  • DC Public Charter Schools occupying surplus DCPS school buildings
  • DC Public Schools
  • DC Public Library System
  • DC Office on Aging Facilities including 2 Nursing Homes
  • DC Fire and EMS Headquarters, Fire Stations and facilities
  • DC Department of Human Services Homeless Shelters
  • DC Department of Human Services Welfare Offices
  • DC Department of Health Community Health Care Clinics (Unity Health)
  • DC Animal Shelter and associated facilities
  • DC Water treatment plants and facilities
  • DC Department of Public Works yards and facilities
  • DC Department of Transportation yards and facilities
  • DC Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Headquarters
  • DC Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters and facilities
  • DC Office of Unified Communications facilities (911 centers, communications towers, etc.)
  • DC Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (Parole and Probation)
  • DC Department of Motor Vehicles Service Centers
  • DC Village Campus
  • DC General Campus
  • ST Elizabeth's Campus
  • DC Sports and Entertainment Authority facilities (RFK Stadium, Nationals Stadium, etc.)
  • DC National Guard facilities
  • DC Department of Employment Services One Stop Centers and facilities
  • DC OCTO Data Centers
  • DC Child and Family Services Agency facilities


  • PSPD provides police support to other District agencies, including DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, DC Department of Health, and DC Child and Family Services Agency.
  • PSPD is the lead agency in securing, safeguarding and escorting the District of Columbia's Strategic Medicine Stockpile during crises or major national events in the nation's capitol.
  • It helps staff the District of Columbia Fusion Center with intelligence personnel. PSPD members are deployed into MPDC Districts for patrol assignments and answer radio runs throughout their assigned district alongside MPDC members.
  • PSPD provides Executive Protection Details to members of the DC Council and Executive Branch Agency Officials as needed.
  • PSPD provides uniformed police support to the Mayoral Executive Protection Detail around the clock.
  • PSPD is charged with ensuring the integrity of Primary and General Elections thru securing and escorting election equipment, election officials and ballots during elections.
  • PSPD is charged with ensuring continuity of government during crises or civil disorder by moving key DC government officials to secure locations.
  • It helps staff the District of Columbia Fusion Center with intelligence personnel.

PSPD members are deployed into MPDC Districts for patrol assignments and answer radio runs throughout their assigned district alongside MPDC members.

PSPD shares its radio frequencies[3] and mobile computer infrastructure.

PSPD uses MPDC district booking stations and central cell block to process prisoners.

Sworn members are covered under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), which allows law enforcement officers to carry firearms, on- or off-duty, anywhere in the United States without regard to local and state laws. PSPD officers carry the same equipment as their MPDC counterparts, with the standard-duty weapon being the Glock 17 9 mm handgun. Officials of the rank of Captain or higher may carry the Glock 19 9 mm handgun, while Investigators may also carry the Glock 26 9 mm handgun.

PSPD police vehicles are issued and maintained by the fleet services of the Metropolitan Police Department and are equipped to MPDC standards.


PSPD is broken into four sections, each is commanded by a captain or civilian equivalent:

  1. Operations Section. Uniformed police patrols throughout the city, with concentration on critical infrastructure and government centers as well as high crime areas identified by the Chief of Police as "hot spots." Members of the Operations Section are routinely deployed in support of major incidents throughout the city including protests and demonstrations and often work in support of MPDC's Special Operations Division (SOD), DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) and DC National Guard (DCNG). Additional members of the Operations Section are also deployed at the Consolidated Forensics Laboratory, Wilson Building (seat of government) and One Judiciary Square as well as uniformed support to the Mayor's Executive Protection Unit.
  2. Mission Support Section. Investigations, intelligence, training, development, internal affairs, special events, fleet management and quartermaster.
  3. Threat Management Section. Electronic security systems, citywide credentialing, communications and IT support. Threat Management Section is also responsible for designing and writing emergency response plans for District agencies including the Emergency Evacuation/Relocation Plan for the District Government.
  4. Office of the Associate Director (OAD). Administrative and executive support operations.


PSPD personnel adhere to all policies and rules set forth by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC).


The hiring process includes a DC Government employment application, pre-screening, preliminary record checks, formal oral board interview, background investigation (MPD Blue Book PHQ) including residence history, driving record (life), criminal and credit check. Applicants who receive a favorable background investigation will be selected for a medical exam, drug testing, psychological exam and may be required to take a pre-employment polygraph depending on the background investigation. Non-certified officers receive their initial basic law enforcement training at the Maurice T. Turner Institute of Police Science (MPDC Police Academy) or at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia; depending upon space and time constraints.


In December 2012, the Director of the Department of General Services announced a reorganization plan for PSPD, wherein the Chief of Police position would be eliminated from the PSPD Command Structure. The new head of PSPD will be a civilian with the job title of "Associate Director of the Department of General Services for PSPD" and will be classified as a 080 in the OPM Job Series. Two civilian Deputy Associate Directors would assume the role of Assistant Chief of Police; while one Deputy Chief of Police would remain as the highest ranking sworn member.

In April 2013, LT Colonel Plez Jenkins, US Army Retired, was appointed as the new head of the Protective Services Police Department. LT Colonel Jenkins most recently served as Deputy Executive Director of the DC Criminal Justice Coordinating Council within the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and brings with him over 30 years of extensive security, force protection, emergency management, threat analysis and law enforcement experience.

On July 21, 2014, Lieutenant Colonel Plez Jenkins announced his resignation from the District Government in order to pursue other opportunities in the private sector. On July 29, 2014, Colonel Anthony Fortune; the former Assistant Director of the Federal Protective Service was named as the Interim Associate Director of DGS for PSPD.

Rank structure[edit]

PSPD uses a rank structure similar to MPDC. The highest-ranking sworn member is the Deputy Chief of Police:

Title Insignia
Associate Director for PSPD
Deputy Associate Director for PSPD
Deputy Chief of Police
US-O7 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
US-O2 insignia.svg
MPDC Sergeant Stripes.png
Lead Police Officer
First Class Stripes - Blue w-White.png
Police Officer

Fallen officers[edit]

Since 1973, one PSD/PSPD officer has died in the line of duty. Mack Wesley Cantrell died from gunshot wounds sustained during the Hanafi Siege of the District Building (now the John Wilson Building) on March 9, 1977.


See also[edit]


Exteranal links[edit]