“The DC Public Library has a police force?”

by Prince Of Petworth March 30, 2016 at 10:05 am 26 Comments


Thanks to a reader for sending. It’s been a while since we’ve spotted one but back in the day an officer commented:

“Yes seriously. I am an Officer with this agency and we do respond to calls for service just like MPD or DC Protective Services would. Alot of people don’t realize it but the library is Government property. As a result this department is staffed with government police officers, (083 series) and charged with the law enforcement responsibilities for the system. there are 30 facilities citywide owned and operated by the dcpl and with all the crime in the city it spills over into these buildings, ( government property) daily. All types of incidents occur from thefts, assults, destruction of property, etc. And yes the library is safe because of us. This department has done alot and will continue to do so. Also we are the same job series and have the same duties and mission as DC Protective Services- protect government property, staff, an the public. We just wear a different uniform. Any other questions please feel free to twitter DCLIBRARYPOLICE.”

Ed. Note: @DCLIBRARYPOLICE appears to be inactive.

Though in all seriousness – sounds like they’d be welcomed here.

  • anon

    It was a library cop who told a Muslim woman to take off her head scarf a week or two ago. I believe he had been fired for misconduct in the past and then rehired.

  • Toin

    I wish they would patrol the front of the MLK library during the day. Teens high on synthetic drugs (or something) have taken over the place. They are sitting on people’s cars, blocking the whole sidewalk. We’re not talking one or two, we’re talking groups of several dozen teens/kids.

    • Steve

      I work across the street and agree. It’s sometimes even difficult to use the bikeshare station there because you have to literally push your way through the crowd to get to the dock.

      • D

        I once saw a guy taking a dump out front of MLK and went in and told them. They said that once you leave the building it’s out of their jurisdiction, so there’s not really anything they can do about it other than call mpd.

        • annonny

          So their “protection of government property” doesn’t include sidewalks? Nice.

  • You Street

    Maybe they can patrol for breast-feeding women?

    • eggs


  • Philippe Lecheval

    They’ve started setting up overdue book checkpoints on the roadways around town. They stopped me on Saturday night. I rolled down the window. The officer shined his flashlight in my face, while asking me if I’d been reading, as I handed over my library card. Long story short, the officer spotted a suspicious book on my passenger seat, but after searching the car, no overdue books were found.

  • JPC

    The Government Printing Office police, with their cruiser sitting outside on N. Capitol St still win for most absurd police unit

    • that Man A

      I swear that car never moves
      i went to high school right there and it sat every day then
      still does today

  • MtP

    Obviously libraries need to be policed, but it seems like some efficiencies could be had by rolling them into the MPD or DC Protective Services.

    • Annon MPD (2)

      I totally agree. But I’ve never understood why DC Library, DC Protective Service, and DC housing Police aren’t just job totes within MPD. Once a year (or whatever the union and city agreed to) officers would put bids in for their desire and either work those areas or the streets. Seems like a lot of wasted money and man power in those departments. Nothing against those officers, I’ve met a few and are all great, just speaking logistically.

      • Anon

        MPD and DC Housing Authority (DCHA) Police are full police. Protective Services and Library Police are special police officers that have arrest authority only on the property for which they are commissioned by MPD (or while in fresh pursuit of a criminal). This has been looked at a number of times and no doubt will be again in the future. It would certainly be more efficient and ensure certain standards for the other forces. Some arguments against it (and there are quite a few) are expense (MPD officers are paid more) and DCHA is not a District government entity. It is simply a policy decision, and it could go either way.

    • smh

      but then how could you retire from MPD after 25 years of service (so when you’re in your late 40s), collect your pension, and get a full salary as a library police officer?

      • anon5

        Easy…By not getting shot or injured in what is one of the most dangerous jobs.

      • Annon MPD (2)

        You wouldn’t, hence saving the tax payers more money. If I am able to retire in my forties but can’t because I didn’t save enough money, that isn’t the governments fault, it is my own.

      • Anon

        With a few exceptions, retired MPD officers are not allowed to work for the District government and collect their pensions. It is often a missed opportunity for the District as the retirees then take their 25+ years of experience and training and go work for the private sector or another government.

  • anonymous

    I did not know this! I think I’ll just assume that every DC agency and every federal agency has its own police force – you’re likely to be correct most of the time if you just assume this, it seems.

  • Ben

    Lol! Excellent Seinfeld reference

  • Duppy

    I hope that have a tactical unit for patrons that can’t be quieted with traditional shushing.

  • Janet

    I have no idea what they police. Their “chief” has told my branch they have about 30 sworn officers, but that we can’t get one stationed at our branch, which gets a lot of disruptive “patrons”. They do a drive by once a day and hang out for 10 minutes but that’s useless.

    Then you go down to MLK and it’s a war zone out front yet you never see them step foot outside the lobby, and when you walk into that lobby area, you always see an actual MPD officer hanging out chatting with the DCPL guard.

    Considering they seem to have a fleet of cruisers and a force of ~30, it’s pretty wasteful they don’t do anything at MLK or have a permanent presence at any of the branches. They seem to be a bunch of highly paid rent a cops in tactical gear who don’t do anything in their municipal “make a jobs” positions. As a taxpayer, I think it is ridiculous that we have a completely separate “Library Police” from MPD.

    • WIll



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