Robert Contee III is now chief of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Contee, who has served as acting chief since the beginning of the year, was unanimously confirmed Tuesday by the D.C. Council.
The police veteran with more than 30 years on the force takes over amid concerns about staffing and morale.
The police union says more than 300 officers have left MPD since last June, cutting the force to under 3,300 people — below the goal of 4,000 people.
Contee disputed the figures from the union and said the size of the department has previously varied.
He said replenishing the ranks is important, including through the MPD Police Cadet Corps program for young people age 17 to 24. Contee went through the program himself and rose through the ranks.
Contee grew up in the Carver Terrace community of Northeast D.C. and graduated from D.C. Public Schools and George Washington University, his MPD bio says. He became a cadet in 1989.
Outside the department itself, Contee said his goal is to get guns off streets.
“As long as we have a gun problem in this city, and as long as we have people who are continuously pulling out illegal firearms, in the hands of people who should not have them, we will continue as a department to focus on recovering illegal guns,” he said.