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District cops have lost faith in Chief Cathy Lanier—or at least, most of the ones who voted in their union’s online poll have.
In the face of a summer-long spike in crime, nearly 98 percent of the police officers who voted said they don’t have confidence in Lanier’s ability to run the Metropolitan Police Department and keep residents safe. The Fraternal Order of Police has criticized Lanier for dropping vice units.
But it’s not clear how representative that is of the department rank-and-file, since the poll received responses from less than a third of the Fraternal Order of Police’s membership.
On the other hand, that’s a higher turnout figure than the 26 percent of District voters who turned out to last year’s April primary that helped put Muriel Bowser in the mayoral suite. Still, Bowser chief of staff John Falcicchio hit the FOP vote on Twitter, calling it “as believable as a Castro election”:
Bowser, who preemptively affirmed her support for keeping Lanier as police chief in a speech last week, sent out a statement this morning again committing to keeping her. The mayor has a good reason to stick with Lanier—according to a separate FOP poll, District residents surveyed gave Lanier a 60 percent approval rating. That’s down from her 84 percent approval rating four years ago, but it isn’t bad for a police chief presiding over a surge in murders.
Update, 3:30 p.m.: Lanier has come out with her own statement on what she calls the union “anonymous online survey,” most of which touts MPD’s anti-violence work over last weekend.
Statement from Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier
I am not interested in responding to or commenting on the anonymous online survey conducted by the Fraternal Order of Police. But I will defend the work of the members of this agency. I will continue, as I have done in the past, to provide statistics and analysis of crime that are factual and can be verified as evidence that our members are extremely effective.
According to our morning report today, MPD took 34 illegal guns off the streets of Washington, DC, this weekend alone and reduced violent crime by 39% compared to the same weekend last year. I am keenly aware of the inconvenience schedule changes cause our members and their families, and sincerely appreciate, that in spite of this inconvenience, they continue to work hard to take violent offenders off our streets to protect the citizens of the District of Columbia.
As the Chief of Police, I will continue to make the tough decisions that need to be made to make Washington, D.C. the safest city in America.
Cathy L. Lanier Chief of Police
Photo by Darrow Montgomery