Mayor-elect Adrian Fenty named Cathy Lanier as the Metropolitan Police Department’s next chief of police last Monday. Lanier will take the place of Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who led the police department during last summer’s crime emergency.
“She’s been in law enforcement for 16 years,” Fenty staffer Mafara Hobson said of Lanier. “She is a law enforcement veteran in the Metropolitan Police Department and in Homeland Security.”
According to comments in an open chat organized by washingtonpost.com, Lanier is the first woman to be appointed the District’s permanent Chief of Police.
“I don’t consider myself a trailblazer (although my mother does),” Lanier wrote.
According to the Washington Post, Ramsey’s departure from MPD’s top post was expected because Fenty’s relationship with Ramsey was strained. Fenty was the only councilmember to vote against the crime emergency bill that Ramsey strongly endorsed. Lanier has not yet announced any major changes of her own.
“I will need some time to look at current deployment and assignments,” she wrote. “However, I do believe in an efficient organization. That said, I will not come into office and make sweeping changes without first taking the time to make a good assessment.”
One idea that she did endorse was increasing the use of civilians in administrative tasks, freeing up sworn officers for patrols.
“Civilians in the Metropolitan Police Department contribute significantly to the agency’s operational effectiveness and success,” Lanier said. “Civilianization allows sworn members to perform patrol functions, and thereby allows for more police presence on the streets. Overall, it’s beneficial.”