DC Mayor-Elect Names Woman as New Police Chief

Washington, DC Mayor-Elect Adrian Fenty has asked Cathy Lanier to head the DC Metropolitan Police Department (DCMPD) police force, making her the first permanent female chief. Lanier has been on the force for 16 years and is currently head of the DCMPD homeland security office. She will replace current police chief, Charles H. Ramsey, who approves highly of her promotion. “I can’t think of anyone better to take over the reigns. She’s young, energetic, bright. She will give you everything she has to give,” said Ramsey, the Baltimore Sun reports. According to the Washington Post, Fenty said that Lanier was his first and only choice and that he made his decision without consulting Ramsey, the DC City Council, or the police union.

Lanier, who joined the Washington police force 16 years ago, has worked as a beat officer, patrol commander, and has headed the bomb squad, SWAT team, and other special units, the Washington Post reports. As commanding officer of the Special Operations Division, she created the Homeland Security/Counter-Terrorism Branch and the chemical, biological, and radiological response unit.

Margie Moore, director of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Center for Women and Policing (NCWP), said of Lanier’s appointment, “This is a very significant event. A woman in such a highly visible position will bring a lot of attention, and certainly a lot of scrutiny.” Moore also added that soon-to-be Chief Lanier is a “huge proponent of community policing,” one of the goals of NCWP. Lanier recently spoke at NCWP’s 11th annual leadership conference in Washington, DC in June 2006.

LEARN MORE about the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Center for Women and Policing, which promotes increasing the numbers of women at all ranks of law enforcement as a strategy to improve police response to violence against women, reduce police brutality and excessive force, and strengthen community policing.
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Washington Post 11/21/06; Associated Press 11/21/06

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