This week on Q&A, our guest is Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department. She discusses the department’s growth in the last twenty-three years since she has been a police officer. She talks about the homicide rate in the District of Columbia being the lowest number in the past fifty-one years. She describes the reasons for this number, and looks to the future growth of the area as an opportunity to add officers to the force.
Lanier recounts stories of growing up in the Washington, DC area and the problems she encountered after dropping out of school at age 15. She was married, had a child, and was divorced. She joined the police force as a single mother with a ninth grade education. She completed her education by obtaining two Master’s degrees and went on to become the youngest Chief in the history of the department. Chief Lanier discusses some of the criticisms of her administration over the years as well as what she considers the qualities needed to be a successful police officer.
Cathy Lanier was sworn in as a foot patrol police officer in 1990. She obtained a B.S and Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and an additional Master’s Degree from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA. In 1999, she became a Captain and was promoted to Inspector and placed in charge of the Department’s Major Narcotics Branch and Gang Crime Unit. In 2006 she became the Commander at the Office of Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism. She was appointed Chief by DC Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2007.