20th Anniversary Photo Contest – April Winner

Inspector Alisa Petty

The COPS Office is pleased to feature the April 2015 winner of the Community Policing in Action Photo Contest – The Metropolitan (Washington, D.C.) Police Department. The photo features Inspector Alisa Petty talking with two young girls during a National Night Out event in August 2014.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is one of the largest police departments in the country, with over 4,000 sworn and civilian members divided into seven police districts. The MPD’s mission is “to safeguard the District of Columbia and protect its residents and visitors by providing the highest quality of police service with integrity, compassion, and a commitment to innovation that integrates people, technology, and progressive business systems.” The MPD is led by Chief Cathy Lanier, whose guiding principles include “changing the culture of the MPD from reacting to crime to building and sustaining safe neighborhoods and making the relationship between police and neighborhoods paramount.” 1

One of the many ways the MPD implements its mission and guiding principles is by participating in National Night Out, an annual event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. The event is designed “to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, and neighborhood camaraderie.”2 The MPD joins with local organizations to host National Night Out events such as community cookouts, block parties, and athletic events in each of the seven police districts annually.

This month’s featured photo was taken during the 2014 National Night Out in the Fourth District, where Inspector Alisa Petty serves as the assistant district commander. “Events like this one are great ways to bond and meet the community,” she said. “There were no incidents, no arrests, and the weather was beautiful. People were happy.” The event featured community clubs and district agencies, entertainment, and plenty of food. Department supervisors and the assistant chief attended the event, which sent a positive message to the community. “It sends a good message that we are humans too. We eat too,” she laughed, as she shared that she would like to see more vegetarian menu options at the next event.

When the two young girls (pictured) ran towards Inspector Petty, she was alarmed. “I didn’t know why they were running,” she said until she noticed McGruff, the Crime Dog, not far behind. “They were so scared,” Petty laughed. “They kept saying ‘He’s too tall. He’s too big.’ I was trying to let them know that he wasn’t a real dog, but they were not convinced. They never went to see McGruff. They headed off to the field to see the drone.”

Inspector Petty, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and has been with the MPD for 25 years, encourages women to consider law enforcement as a career. She shared her experiences growing up in the District, where she saw many police officers who were “all about business.” There was one particular woman in uniform who fascinated her. She admired the officer for being so friendly and told herself that she could do the same job just as well, if not better. “I knew that I was friendly, talkative, and social and that I would make a great police officer one day.” Later this year, Inspector Petty will retire from the MPD, but she plans to continue impacting her community in a positive way. She is finishing a master’s program in criminal justice and plans to teach upon graduation.

The COPS Office congratulates the Metropolitan Police Department for being one of 12 winners of the COPS Office Community Policing in Action Photo Contest and for its commitment to community policing.

Written with contributions from Inspector Alisa Petty, Metropolitan Police Department. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Najla Haywood
Special Contributor
The COPS Office


1 Metropolitan Police Department, “MPDC: Mission and Goals,” DC.gov, accessed March 3, 2015, http://mpdc.dc.gov/page/mpdc-mission-and-goals.
2 “History of NATW,” National Night Out, accessed March 3, 2015, https://natw.org/about.

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