How Parlave, FBI’s Highest-Ranking Female Field Exec, Runs D.C. Office


Valerie Parlave, 49, the FBI’s highest-ranking female agent in the field, is the first to run the Washington, D.C. field, office, with 800 agents and 800 other employees, reports Bloomberg News. She is known for her “attention to detail, contemplative attitude and concern for line officers and agents.” Within minutes of last year’s Washington Navy Yard shooting, she was “calmly drawing on relationships she had cultivated during her two-decade career in the bureau, calling in help from tactical teams, evidence technicians and extra agents to conduct interviews. Within hours, more than 500 bureau personnel descended on the facility.”

Her regular contacts with local police leaders, including Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier and U.S. Park Police Chief Theresa Chambers, meant that there was none of the typical federal-local friction at the Navy Yard scene, Lanier said. “When she first came in, she invited me over, and I went over and we talked, and she took notes,” Lanier said of their first meeting last year. “She's quiet and reserved, and very easy to work with. There is no ego with her.” When Parlave joined the FBI in 1991, about 12 percent of agents were women. Today, the bureau says 19.4 percent of its 13,598 agents, and 21.5 percent of its senior executives, are women.

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