This story in the Washington Post is a remarkable story about a remarkable woman, a firefighter’s daughter, with a teenage past similar to that of many criminals, who is now the police chief of our nation’s capital.
Truly a must read.
“POLICE CHIEF CATHY LANIER CUTS A FORMIDABLE FIGURE as she strides, long-legged, in front of an outdoor lineup of 125 khaki-clad D.C. police recruits standing at attention on a closed-off street in the Langston Terrace neighborhood in Northeast Washington. Nearly 6 feet tall and a fit 160 pounds, Lanier is wearing a blue jacket with four gold stars on each shoulder and shiny black patent-leather boots. Her dyed blond hair spills out of her dark blue police cap. Along with the recruits and more than 150 blue-clad officers, she has mustered nearly 300 of her forces to this crime-ridden area for another All Hands on Deck, a controversial innovation that sends hundreds of cops walking around their beats to meet citizens informally. The goal is to talk about neighborhood problems and to show that the Metropolitan Police Department is out to serve people, not just make arrests — although the weekend exercises usually yield at least a few busts.
“It’s good for the community to see this,” Lanier shouts as she walks, gesturing at the long blue and khaki lines of cops. “We are fighting every day! We don’t give up! We don’t stop! And we do all that we can do!” She is barking above the street noise and needs no megaphone on this warm Friday afternoon in November.
“I’d like to introduce you to a lady from this community, Kathy Henderson,” Lanier says, putting her arm around the shoulders of a middle-aged local activist. “She had tears in her eyes when she saw all the police officers out here. This community needs you! And there are a thousand Kathy Hendersons out there! You have to give them everything you have! You have to do 110 percent! You are gonna meet people who have suffered from extreme violence, and their kids can’t go outside! And we put our lives on the line for them! And the law-abiding people appreciate this! You see what you can do? You put your lives on the line, and people like Kathy Henderson appreciate it!”