|Q&A: Kim Dine, Police Chief, U.S. Capitol Police
Chief of Police Kim C. Dine has over 37 years of distinguished service in the field of law enforcement—with his most recent appointment occurring in December 2012 as the eighth Chief of Police of the United States Capitol Police. Previously, Chief Dine served the region as the District 1 Commander of the Metropolitan Police Department, overseeing Downtown DC and Capitol Hill, and also served as Police Chief for the City of Frederick Police Department. Chief Dine chairs COG’s Police Chiefs Committee, which serves as a regional forum for public safety officials. In this Region Forward Q+A, Dine discusses COG’s work in regional safety, his love of Washington and Frederick, and the diversity of the community he continues to serve.
What first got you interested in being a police officer?
I was probably most influenced by my father who was a World War II hero (two Silver stars, a Bronze star, two Purple Hearts), who was my hero as well. Early on I was fascinated with police work even though originally I wanted to be a doctor. Early experience with both math and science provided clues that might not be in the cards for me. I believed that the police work, like medicine, was a calling and that the police exist to serve people. Policing is a “people career” and for so many reasons it seemed like an incredible career. Sociology courses in college sealed the deal for me when I read, Talley’s Corner, which actually is a doctoral thesis about a street corner in Washington, DC. A year or two after reading that book I was policing that same neighborhood. For me it could not have gotten any better than that.
What brought you to this region originally? If you are from the region, what kept you here?
My family moved to Washington, DC, when I was in college, so DC became home. My last year of college I applied to join the Metropolitan Police Department and I joined MPD about three weeks after I graduated in 1975. I started with MPD on June 9th, 1975, where I spent 27 years, rising from patrol officer to assistant chief. The Washington region is fabulous in so many ways and moving to DC started what was almost a thirty year period of being a DC resident.
What were the biggest opportunities/challenges in moving from MPD to Frederick, and then Frederick to US Capitol Police?
Leaving MPD was an incredibly difficult decision because I was greatly enjoying my career and enjoyed working with then Chief Charles Ramsey. Those twenty-seven years of policing in the District (1975-2002) were an amazing experience. The Metropolitan Police Department is one of the larger municipal agencies in the country comprised of thousands of exceptional officers. I was able to work in many units across the agency and at every rank but chief. Having lived in the District since 1975, the District became my second home. Given my passion and affinity for the District, moving was difficult, but I found a second home and a new love in Frederick, MD, where I was chief for over ten years and commanded the agency under three different mayors/administrations. One only has to visit Frederick to fall in love with the people, history, and architecture. In Frederick we successfully reduced crime while the population was rapidly growing, created a number of new programs and initiatives and built bridges with the mental health community, the Deaf community, the Latino community, the GLBTQ community, the Muslim community, the African-American community, the Business community, and built a community policing/intelligence lead-data driven approach which focused on responsiveness and problem solving. We obtained national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Law Enforcement, reaching status as a “flagship agency.” The FPD is an outstanding agency and the women and men distinguished themselves in their great effort to build bridges, reduce crime, problem solve, obtain grants, effectively use technology and data to combat crime and maximize resources to provide outstanding service to the community. Again, leaving the Frederick Police Department was another incredibly difficult decision.
Having the opportunity to join the United States Capitol Police was a huge honor which created an amazing opportunity to be part of a premier federal law enforcement agency comprised of outstanding personnel with a special and unique mission and work to impact the challenges we face in protecting the people, the place, and the process that makes us the United States of America. I have been very fortunate and blessed over the past thirty-eight years to be part of one of the best and largest municipal police agencies in the country, to lead one of the best mid-sized agencies in the country, and to now lead one of the finest and most unique federal law enforcement agencies in the United States. In each agency I have been so fortunate to work alongside, learn from, and be mentored by amazingly dedicated police professionals.
What are the benefits to area police departments who work together as part of the COG Police Chiefs Committee?
Having worked with COG for many years, I was extremely cognizant of the incredible value of partnering with other local, state, and federal agencies. Partnering with agencies is part of what effective policing and community policing is all about. We all can learn from each other and we all can share “best practices.” Likewise, it is critical that we share information and resources if we are to maximize our capabilities. It has been a great honor to chair the COG Police Chiefs Committee, working alongside so many incredible leaders in the policing field in this region.
How do the region’s mutual aid agreements benefit police in the region?
These mutual aid agreements assist us all as no one agency can solve all of the issues. We are able to assist each other with ideas, equipment, and personnel. Perhaps most importantly, these agreements and the COG police chiefs committee fosters and enhances teamwork and communication. This makes us all better and the region safer.
Emergency preparedness has been a major focus after 9/11. How do you see the police role in the region’s emergency preparedness activities?
As has been often said, 9/11 changed policing in this country and since then emergency preparedness took on a new and expanded role in policing. Since the USCP plays a large counter terrorism role as part of what we do and who we are, this issue is highlighted even more and we all know that in this region emergency preparedness is critical. It is a critical component of most agencies on a daily basis.
Is this region a leader in certain areas of police work?
I see this region as a leader in crime reduction, problem solving, responsiveness, explosive detection, crowd management, threat assessment, dignitary protection, emergency management, and managing large and very unique special events such as the Inauguration of the President of the United States, the State of the Union, large marches and demonstrations, July 4th, and many other major events. We partner, continue to improve the sharing of information, and communicate very well.
Release Date: Apr 24, 2014