Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter XIV. General Powers and Duties.


§ 5–127.01. Conduct of force; power to fine, suspend and dismiss; written charges; opportunity to be heard; removal without trial; amendment of charges.

In addition to the powers vested in them by law, the Council of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered to make and modify, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered to enforce, under such penalties as the Council may deem necessary, all needful rules and regulations for the proper government, conduct, discipline, and good name of said Metropolitan Police force; and said Mayor is hereby authorized and empowered to fine, suspend with or without pay, and dismiss any officer or member of said police force for any offense against the laws of the United States or the laws and ordinances or regulations of the District of Columbia, whether before or after conviction thereof in any court or courts, and for misconduct in office, or for any breaches or violation of the rules and regulations made by the Council for the government, conduct, discipline, and good name of said police force; provided, that no person shall be removed from said police force except upon written charges preferred against him in the name of the Chief of Police of said police force to the trial board or boards hereinafter provided for and after an opportunity shall have been afforded him of being heard in his defense; but no person so removed shall be reappointed to any office in said police force; provided further, that special policemen and additional privates may be removed from office by the Mayor without cause and without trial; provided further, that charges preferred against any member of said police force to the trial board or boards hereinafter provided for may be altered or amended, in the discretion of such trial board or boards, at any time before final action by such board or boards, under such regulations as the Council may adopt, provided the accused have an opportunity to be heard thereon.


(Feb. 28, 1901, 31 Stat. 819, ch. 623, § 1; June 8, 1906, 34 Stat. 221, ch. 3056.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-117.

1973 Ed., § 4-121.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-632.03.

Cross References

Merit system, application to police officers and firefighters, see 1-632.03.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) video surveillance regulations, see § 2 of Metropolitan Police Department Video Surveillance Regulations Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-10, January 27, 2003, 50 DCR 1481).

Editor's Notes

Office of Major and Superintendent of Police abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 5-105.01.

Mayor's Orders

Delegation of Personnel Authority in the Metropolitan Police Department to the Chief of Police: See Mayor’s Order 97-88, May 9,

New Implementing Regulations

New implementing regulations: Pursuant to this section, the following new regulations were adopted in 1982: The “Police Officers Outside Employment Act of 1982” (D.C. Law 4-132, July 24, 1982, 29 DCR 2450).

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(93) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 5–127.02. Affirmations and oaths to depositions.

The Mayor and the Chief of Police have power to administer, take, receive, and subscribe all affirmations and oaths to any depositions necessary by the rules and regulations of the Mayor, relating to the Metropolitan Police.


(R.S., D.C., § 392; June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 107, ch. 180, § 6; June 8, 1906, 34 Stat. 221, ch. 3056.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-119.

1973 Ed., § 4-123.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-632.03.

Cross References

Merit system, application to police officers and firefighters, see 1-632.03.

Editor's Notes

Office of Major and Superintendent of Metropolitan Police abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 5-105.01.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 5–127.03. Duty to respect and obey Chief of Police.

It shall be the duty of the police force to respect and obey the Chief of Police as the head and chief of the police force, subject to the rules, regulations, and general orders of the Council of the District of Columbia and the Mayor of the District of Columbia.


(R.S., D.C., § 344; June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 107, ch. 180, § 6.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-122.

1973 Ed., § 4-126.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-632.03.

Cross References

Merit system, application to police officers and firefighters, see 1-632.03.

Editor's Notes

Office of Major and Superintendent of Metropolitan Police abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 5-105.01.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 5–127.04. Police to have power of constables; authorization to execute certain Superior Court orders.

(a) The Mayor of the District of Columbia, and the members of the police force, shall possess in every part of the District all the common-law powers of constables, except for the service of civil process and for the collection of strictly private debts, in which designation fines imposed for the breach of the ordinances in force in the District shall not be included.

(b) In addition to the powers enumerated in subsection (a) of this section, members of the Metropolitan Police Department shall execute orders of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia issued pursuant to § 16-1005.


(R.S., D.C., §§ 394, 1035; June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 107, ch. 180, § 6; Sept. 14, 1982, D.C. Law 4-144, § 8, 29 DCR 3131.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-136.

1973 Ed., § 4-136.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 5–127.05. Execution of warrants.

Any warrant for search or arrest, issued by any judge of the District, may be executed in any part of the District by any member of the police force, without any backing or indorsement of the warrant, and according to the terms thereof; and all provisions of law in relation to bail in the District shall apply to this chapter.


(R.S., D.C., § 395.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-138.

1973 Ed., § 4-138.

Cross References

Arrests, officers pursuing fugitive into District, see § 23-901.

Search warrants, duties under, see § 23-523 et seq.

Search warrants, illegal alcoholic beverages, see § 25-803.

Search warrants, execution under Controlled Substances Act, see § 48-921.02.

Search warrants, time of execution, see § 23-523.

Service of process, Criminal Division of Superior Court, see § 16-703.

References in Text

Pursuant to the District of Columbia Court Reorganization Act of 1970, “judge” was substituted for “magistrate” in this section.