Take a look at Google Maps. Search 300 Indiana Ave NW Washington D.C. 20001. This is what you’ll find: a building that looks like the number 8 turned on its side. This building has many names. It’s the Municipal Center, the Henry J. Daly building, 300 Indiana Ave NW, and the Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters. For a building that should be important in a city like D.C., why is it not emphasized as such on a visual search like Google Maps? I think that this speaks to the fact that the city is not proud of this establishment. While there is interesting history behind the building (such as the shootout mentioned in S Street Rising) the interior is falling apart. The Henry J. Daly building is not fit for any business to run properly, let alone the police department of a nation’s capital. I believe that the poor representation of the building on Google Maps compared to other buildings around it shows the (lack of) agenda for the building. It’s run-down and overlooked. The areas surrounding are embellished with memorials and nature while the building itself is concrete and intimidating. The future of the building is currently undecided, but from what I can see, the building needs some serious help.
The video shown here is an advertisement to the public trying to encourage citizens to join the police force. A majority of the footage shows the police in action as they draw their guns, storm buildings, and pursue “bad guys.” The action based footage is likely utilized to entice citizens and make them want to be involved. Furthermore, the voiceovers in the video talk about how being a police officer is a challenge. This so-called challenge is explained as being the first to arrive at crime scenes or getting involved when others might not. This overall view of the police, however, is only a part of the job. What the video does not mention is the every day interaction that the MPD has with citizens or even the small differences that officers can make in anyone’s life. The video fails to describe how the goals of the MPD should be keeping the greater public safe and in balance. Rather, the video focuses on the action and potential danger of the job. In my eyes, this video undermines the heart of the job which seems to get lost to most of the public.
Video taken from https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialDCPolice
The back of the MPD HQ is labeled the “Municipal Center” and faces C street. Similar to the rest of the building (at least in my opinion), this entrance is rather dull and unexciting. The doors specify that this entrance to the building is for employees only which makes this side of the building even less welcoming than the front (which already looks daunting). It appears that when the building was renamed after Henry J. Daly, only the front of the building was given new identification. I believe that this says a lot about the priorities of the D.C. government. Either that, or they didn’t have enough money to change the back of the building. Either way, the exterior of the building sends a message to the public suggesting that the headquarters itself can’t get it together.
The panorama here shows the landscape surrounding the MPD HQ as if you just walked out of the front doors. The area is clearly more pedestrian friendly than car friendly since there is little public parking. Furthermore, the MPD HQ awkwardly lies in the judiciary square area. While the building is roughly the same shape and size as the ones around it, the design appears more totalitarian than the buildings around it. The District of Columbia Court across the street, for example, has features that mirror the Greek acropolis. Other buildings in the area share similarities with the District of Columbia Court building. The MPD HQ, on the other hand, has a minimalist design which sets it apart and shows the intent of a different purpose.
While the D.C. MPD headquarters isn’t located in the Archives/Navy Memorial area, it is close. The walk from the HQ to the memorial featured is about 5 minutes and roughly 3-4 blocks. As can be seen in the picture, there is a large emphasis on America on a global scale as well as the history of the country. The area is clean and modern with the focus on the national archives. The contrast between the archives/navy memorial area and the judiciary square area is quite noticeable. Judiciary square has no main focus and the police HQ as well as the police memorial are both pieces of a bigger picture. I believe this shows the the emphasis of D.C. being a city and not a state.