Cathy Lanier, 39, who rose quickly through the ranks of the D.C. police after starting as a rookie 16 years ago, has been named by Mayor-elect Adrian Fenty to become the first permanent female chief of the 3,800-member force, the Washington Post reports. Lanier, who impressed Fenty during her years as a beat officer and patrol commander, replaces Charles Ramsey. Fenty has echoed the complaints of residents, particularly those in poorer wards, that Ramsey has not put enough officers on the streets and focused too heavily on federal security issues.
Lanier has been a favorite of Ramsey, who gave her key patrol commands and put her in charge of the bomb squad, SWAT team and other special units. In April, Ramsey named her head of the department’s homeland security division — another coveted assignment in the chief’s inner circle. Fenty said it was “appropriate to bring in someone who has a new set of eyes and brings new ways to attack the problems. Cathy Lanier will do that without losing the good initiatives of Chief Ramsey.” Lanier expressed concern about “the perception and fear of crime and the way people feel on the streets. It does not matter what the crime statistics are if people feel afraid.”