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Who is Ashan Benedict | What to know about DC's interim police chief

Here's what we know about Benedict's career in law enforcement.

WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced who will be taking Police Chief Robert Contee III's place as the head of the Metropolitan Police Department. Bowser named Ashan Benedict as interim police chief Friday while a nationwide search is held for a permanent replacement.

Benedict has served as the executive assistant chief of police at MPD since April 2021 when he was appointed by Chief Contee. His main responsibility includes managing the day-to-day operations of the department.

"I was delighted when Chief Contee brought me the idea of Chief Benedict coming to MPD to serve as his executive assistant chief," Bowser said at a press conference Friday. "And I know he is going to do a fine job in making sure we are deploying our men and women, keeping the District safe while the interim search is ongoing."

Benedict acknowledged that he is not applying for the job permanently, saying he feels better suited to support the department as interim chief and then returning to his role as executive assistant chief. He said he intends to stay on after a permanent chief is chosen. 

Before joining MPD, Benedict served at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in several major posts, including as the special agent in charge in the Washington, D.C. Field Division. He began his ATF career in 1998 as a special agent assigned to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force in D.C. As a street agent, he investigated violent drug trafficking organizations, armed robberies of commercial businesses, armed carjackings, gang-related racketeering murders and firearms trafficking offenses.

Benedict also played a key role in responding to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He was the on-scene incident commander for ATF’s deployment at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Previously, he was involved in the ATF's response and investigations of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack at the Pentagon, the Beltway sniper investigation and the Navy Yard active shooter investigation.

Outside of D.C., he also worked with the ATF in response to Hurricane Katrina, the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting in 2015 and the mass mailing of pipe bombs in New York City in Oct. 2018.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Fordham University and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Syracuse University, Maxwell School in Washington, D.C. He is also a graduate of the Asian American Government Executive Network’s Senior Executive Service Development Program. He and his wife have three children and live in Washington, D.C.

The announcement comes about three weeks after Contee announced he was retiring from MPD to join the FBI. His effective retirement date is June 3, but his last day in the office will be May 24, according to Mayor Bowser. Benedict will take over for Contee as acting chief starting May 24. 

"I am very confident in the abilities of Ashan Benedict and the team of the Metropolitan Police Department," Contee said Friday. "I think the mayor has made an excellent choice to ensure that operations that involve community, to ensure that the focus on community continues. The safety of the communities that we serve is paramount ... That is the thing that keeps us up at night." 


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