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Planning for Success with D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department


Jonathan Spector

Date Published

Aug 29, 2023
7 minute read
Metropolitan Police Department

The Situation

A local and national shift in public sentiment around policing has been occurring over the past several years. MPD Chief Robert J. Contee III, a career MPD officer, recognized that the tactical, heads-down, in-the-moment orientation of the workforce was not doing enough future-forward planning – something that he believed to be more important than ever in the changing social climate. As he settled into the job, Chief Contee recognized the need to both lead the day-to-day operations and also create some space to look up and out at what MPD desired to be in the future. The Chief recognized that if they kept doing what they were doing they’d keep getting more of the same, and that’s not the future he envisioned for MPD or for the District of Columbia communities they serve.

To change that trajectory, Chief Contee began by positing a set of questions:

  • What is the vision for the future MPD?
  • How should the MPD show up in the community?
  • What is the MPD’s desired employee experience?
  • What tools, programs, and technologies are required to realize that vision and experience?

Those are big questions with complex answers. To answer them, Chief Contee and MPD leadership asked The Clearing to help them create a roadmap for the department’s future.

How We Did It

Like many engagements, The Clearing started with a facilitated session to actively engage MPD leaders in creating the vision. In framing the conversation with the question, “What do we want to be true by 2025?” MPD leaders energetically created a vision the team could aspire to, and more importantly, commit to actively work towards.

Metropolitan Police Department

Graphic Recording Illustration: Jim Nuttle

With the vision captured, the next step was to identify the top strategic priorities that would propel the Department toward the vision.

The MPD strategic priorities emerged, with an outside-in focus:

  1. Focused Law Enforcement. Redefining how MPD gathers and shares intelligence and information with its officers and the community.
  2. Impactful Community Engagement. Establishing trusted relationships with communities.
  3. Innovative Infrastructure. Identifying and implementing the technologies and infrastructure that will improve upon MPD’s mission delivery.
  4. Engaged Workforce. Ensuring MPD employees feel valued, heard, and protected as members of the department.

With the four strategic priority areas defined, The Clearing worked with MPD leaders to identify the right people to lead each of the strategic priority teams. These teams were then chartered and The Clearing led the teams through a very intentional process which has proven to be highly successful in identifying and delivering long-term, mid-term, and near-term outcomes and milestones along with implementing an accountability process that ensured that each team stayed on track to deliver outcomes on the committed-to dates.

This process is outlined in our REDPOINT PRIME. This PRIME centers on creating date-certain initiatives, identifying the right teams to do the work, and entrusting leaders with the authority to remove roadblocks encountered along the way. One of the keys to REDPOINT success is an uncompromising commitment to completion by a certain date, as we have found people are amazingly innovative when the due date cannot change. To facilitate this, we helped the strategic priority initiative leaders to break down outcomes into incremental milestones by guiding them through an exercise that asks, “If this is what we’re going to make true three years from now, what must be true at the end of this year? In six months? At the end of this month?” These manageable chunks enable teams to narrow their focus on specific goals without losing sight of the bigger picture.

To keep things on track, we scheduled weekly 15-minute accountability meetings with strategic priority leaders to ensure that milestones were on schedule to be met and outcomes were on track to be delivered. These meetings also surfaced any early signs of potential roadblocks and what MPD leaders needed to do to clear them. To track progress toward MPD 2025 outcomes, The Clearing employed a series of intuitive templates for team members to record milestones and actions. This provided a sense of accountability and a clear roadmap of what needs to happen to realize specific goals.

 The Impact

At the end of year one, The Clearing team asked MPD leaders how many outcomes would have been delivered organically (i.e., by keeping on doing what they had been doing prior to this focused MPD 2025 initiative). The answers ranged from “none” to “very few.” That’s not an indictment.

It is extremely challenging for any organization to maintain a consistent focus on strategic initiatives that can feel like they’re pulling you away from the day-to-day mission needs.

There was consensus that the accountability process led by The Clearing team and our REDPOINT PRIME approach enabled the steady focus needed to continue to strive towards the MPD 2025 vision.

After nearly two years of running this process, critical, committed-to outcomes continue to be delivered. While the comprehensive list of outcomes are too numerous to list, here are some of MPD 2025’s major impacts:

  • Focused Law Enforcement
    • To better collect critical law enforcement intelligence, MPD 2025 spurred the creation of strategic intelligence groups – a subset of officers who collect on-the-ground information in designated areas. As part of this effort, MPD created a more effective process for distributing this information, including informing the community of arrests and issuing safety alerts.
  • Impactful Community Engagement
    • In support of both striving to reduce delivery package thefts in the community and also enhancing the MPD employee experience, MPD partnered with Amazon to install Amazon lockers in the Sixth District, with plans to expand to other Districts. Community members and officers now have the option of having packages delivered to lockers in safe, secure environments. This free service is the country’s first of its kind and is the result of innovative thinking encouraged as part of MPD 2025.
    • MPD has intensified partnering activities with a variety of community groups with the specific intention of building sustaining impactful relationships with the community.
  • Innovative Infrastructure
    • Paper forms were a significant drain on resources and required significant time from officers who were already overworked. As part of MPD 2025, many of those forms have been digitized and now include scannable codes. This allows officers to work from their phones, simplifying processes, saving time, and reducing waste.
    • Patrol vehicle functionality has been upgraded to meet modern law enforcement demands and better serve officer needs in the field.
  • Engaged Workforce
    • With a renewed focus on and messaging around career development, MPD Human Resources reports submission of annual performance review goals increased from 15% to 95%.
    • A discounted meal delivery program has been implemented for MPD team members, making it easier for them to be present on the job and care for their families at home.
    • A Health and Wellness Program Associate has been hired.

For more on how specific MPD 2025 initiatives are reshaping the department, take a look at this video featuring MPD team members discussing program outcomes.

If you’re thinking about reinvigorating your organizational strategy with a focus on the future, we can help you plan for success. Contact us or visit for more information.