Despite the fact that, as this week’s cover story points out, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier enjoys widespread popularity among D.C. residents, some cops aren’t as adoring. Anti-Lanier police I’ve talked to say she’s too strict of a disciplinarian and that her stringent approach to control was famously showcased in 2000, when she was commander of the Fourth District.
When Lanier heard some scuttlebutt that her district’s lieutenants were lazing about in their offices—and, rumor had it, sometimes having sex there—she chewed them out, say police sources, who asked for anonymity because they don’t have permission to speak to the media.
That wasn’t the end of it, though. When the cops came in the next day they found their offices a lot more airy. Their doors were gone. “She just didn’t like not knowing what was going on,” recalls a lieutenant who says he lost a door. The official says Lanier overreacted to what was nothing more than gossip. “She was blinded by anger,” he says.
Lanier hasn’t responded to inquiries about the story, but the tale has been passed around (“I did hear she did that,” says Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes, a close Lanier ally) and could either represent Lanier as bully or no-nonsense reformer. Interestingly, that tension is reminiscent of tension inspired by the guy—or jerk—who installed her. Birds of a feather?
Photo by Darrow Montgomery