Chanel Dickerson Retires From DC Police

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DC Police Deputy Chief Chanel Dickerson, one of the department’s highest-ranking black female officers and a plaintiff in an ongoing discrimination lawsuit against the force, is retiring after more than three decades.

Dickerson, 50, grew up in the Wellington Park neighborhood of southeastern Washington, which struggled with crime. She said she plans to start a consulting business focused on empowering women.

She started in the department in 1988 as a junior high school student.

Dickerson said his official retirement date was June 4, but his last day working and in uniform was Thursday. She has held a wide variety of jobs over the years, including supervising the patrol, the backbone of the force. She has also worked in divisions investigating sexual assault, domestic violence, financial crimes and bank robberies.

Dickerson took over as head of the department’s new Office of Youth and Family Engagement in 2021. His duties included overseeing the Missing Persons Unit and the School Safety Division. In this capacity, she was one of eight deputy chiefs and one of two black women of that rank.

Dickerson is among 10 current and former DC officers who filed a federal lawsuit last fall accusing the department of widespread discrimination and sexual harassment over the past two decades. In her complaint, Dickerson described years of mistreatment and alleged that female executives received fewer resources and less desirable assignments.

Ten Current Black Former DC Policewomen Sue City, Citing Discrimination

On Thursday, Dickerson said in an interview that she would remain a plaintiff in the lawsuit. The district has not commented on the conduct described in the lawsuit, but Chief Robert J. Contee III called the allegations unacceptable. He hired a new equity officer this month to address issues raised in the lawsuit.

Dickerson said she has no regrets about joining the department and recommends it as a career choice for women.

“We should be the model department,” Dickerson said. “What we do here and the way we treat people will reverberate across the country… I don’t want anyone to think I don’t like the Metropolitan Police Department. We just have to do it right and improve it.

In 2017, during her first week as commanding officer, Dickerson found herself in the national spotlight when she changed the department’s social media policy so that officials would tweet about every missing person found ” critical”. Previously, the police only sent such tweets about young children, older adults or people suspected of being in danger.

The result was a deluge of police tweets about people, especially children of color, who had gone missing. Although nearly all were ultimately found to be safe, the posts caused a stir, prompting the police chief and mayor to hold public meetings as rappers, NBA stars and TV personalities retweeted the bulletins. in capital letters with the hashtag #missingdcgirls.

On Thursday, Dickerson said she changed the policy because of her experience growing up in the Southeast and seeing “all these pictures of black girls coming through my office and feeling like there was no fair or just system for investigating cases.”

At his retirement ceremony, according to video provided by the department, Contee said that, like him, Dickerson police “became a lifeline at a very young age.” He noted that his career “hasn’t been easy”.

“I know the trials and tribulations,” Contee said.

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