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One of the city’s favorite cops is likely to face discipline. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans sent a letter in support of Assistant Chief Diane Groomes, and many of the cop’s supporters are hoping for leniency. But complicating that request might be this: Among Metropolitan Police Department officers, Groomes is known to be a stickler for the rules.

Accused of helping other police commanders cheat on a 50-question Intelligence Led Policing (ILP) exam, Groomes could end up facing harsh punishment. “If she’s lucky,” she’ll get demoted, one high-ranking police MPD official tells City Desk on condition of anonymity. There’s a chance Chief Cathy Lanier could fire Groomes, instead. (City Desk has an e-mail out to Groomes, but hasn’t been able to reach her for comment yet.)

As both an assistant chief and, before that, a district commander, Groomes fostered a culture of accountability among her subordinates. One police source who worked under Groomes draws an interesting and contradictory picture of her. On the one hand—on a personal level—she’d do anything to aid a fellow officer: “She’s a good hearted person,” he says. “You could walk up to her and ask to borrow $200, and she’d give it to you.” On the other, she reamed officers for even minor infractions, the source claims. “The discipline was just off the hook.” He says Groomes has always been quick to “write-up” cops who strayed from high standards of conduct. Other MPD sources agree that Groomes is known as a task-master with little patience for disciplinary lapses.

Groomes then, may find herself on the working end of a culture she (understandably and justifiably) helped engender. In a department where disciplinary matters have come to be taken so seriously that a lost ID card means a 10-day suspension, lower-ranking officers are apt to cry foul if a higher-up gets off easy. That probably means if she turns out to have enabled cheating on the exam, Groomes’ supporters should take aim at the demotion scenario—which would allow Groomes to stick around while, arguably, preserving morale.