The Gotham City Police Department, often referred to as the GCPD, is the police department of Gotham City. Aside from a handful of recurring characters, such as Harvey Bullock, Sarah Essen, Renee Montoya, and James Gordon, the department has a well-deserved reputation for being extraordinarily brutal and corrupt. It has alternatively supported or opposed Batman over the course of his vigilante career, and their complicated relationship often varied depending on contemporary Gotham politics and outlook of individual commissioners.
History of GCPD
Acting as both ally and opponent of Batman, the superhero long-established in Gotham, the GCPD has long been steeped in political corruption, with numerous officers both high-and-low ranking involved in bribery and even more serious offenses such as drug-trafficking and murder.
The GCPD's reputation for corruption dated back through most of the century, stemming from high offices.
The strongest blow against police corruption in the force came when an increasing amount of conspiracy charges against Loeb forced him to resign his position, replaced by Peter Grogan. The Falcone crime family, which had a stranglehold on Gotham's underground for generations, finally crumbled when a series of killings shook the structure of the mafia organization. After the death of Carmine Falcone, the mob lashed out in sloppy, retaliatory crimes, which, in combination with rising gang violence, severely crippled organized crime in Gotham City. Simultaneously, the ebbing presence of corrupt police officers allowed James Gordon to become the new commissioner, a man determined to eradicate crime wherever it existed.
Gordon served for a long period, until messy politics began to chip away at his position.
The GCPD has had a long love-hate relationship with the city's vigilante known as Batman. Commissioner Gordon went along with him because Batman got the job done. The GCPD received in short order three more commissioners, including Sarah Essen. Gordon was finally restored to office, until he retired. His successor, Commissioner Michael Akins ordered the arrest of Batman and had the Batsignal removed from the roof of Gotham Central. Corruption and rot within the police department also rose during Akins' tenure as Commissioner.
Current status of GCPD
As of DC's One Year Later, James Gordon has been reinstated as Commissioner, along with Harvey Bullock after Akins left the force for good. Harvey came back on disciplinary probation after helping expose a criminal drug ring. Relation with Batman, including the Bat-Signal, have been established once more. Other characters from Gotham Central have appeared in the recent Tales of the Unexpected miniseries, featuring Crispus Allen as the The Spectre. Thus far, Detective Driver has appeared in a speaking role. It is unknown what has happened to Commissioner Akins, but it is implied that, following revelations of massive corruption within the department, there has been a drastic cleaning-of-house within the department.
Kate Kane referred to Akins as police commissioner in the weekly 52 series, which reveals the events of the missing year. A later issue, however, showed a brief snapshot of Commissioner Gordon's welcome back party. The circumstances of Akins's departure and Gordon's reinstatement have yet to be explained. A rising amount of costumed villains bought the need for the GCPD to respond accordingly. A Major Crimes Unit was founded under the command of Sarah Essen and Mackenzie Bock. Captain Maggie Sawyer from Metropolis is currently the commander of the MCU department, and has ended her relationship with former lover Toby Raines.
Divisions of GCPD
- Homicide Division
- The division that handles homicide and some of the more serious non-metahuman crimes in Gotham. This is the division Gordon was a part of before becoming commissioner. Harvey Bullock formerly worked in this division. Former private investigator Jason Bard is now working on homicide cases for this division.
- Led by Capt. Maggie Sawyer, who previously served in Metropolis in a similar position with that city's police, the MCU deals with the most serious crimes, often involving supervillans or politically sensitive cases. This division is the focus of the comic book series Gotham Central.
- Quick Response Team
- Led by Lt. Gerard "Jerry" Hennelly, the QRT is the GCPD's SWAT unit. It was formerly headed by Billy Pettit until he went insane (Batman: No Man's Land) and before him the controversial Branden (Batman: Year One).
- 13th Precinct
- Main article: Gotham City Police Department, 13th Precinct
- One of the precincts of the GCPD that presumably specialized in undercover operations. Commissioner James Gordon picked a 10-man squad to go undercover into Arkham City to investigate what is the true nature of the city-wide prison facility, but they ended up exposed and captured from an information leak.