Cathy L. Lanier

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Cathy L. Lanier
Cathy Lanier.JPG
Lanier in August 2007
Born (1967-07-22) July 22, 1967 (age 49)
Tuxedo, Maryland, U.S.
Alma mater University of the District of Columbia
Police career
Current status Retired
Department Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Allegiance District of Columbia
Country  United States of America
Years of service 1990–2016
  • 1990: Sworn in as an officer
  • 1994: Sergeant
  • 1996: Lieutenant
  • 1998: Captain
  • 1999: Inspector
  • 2000: Commander
  • 2007: Chief of Police
Other work NFL Head of Security

Cathy Lynn Lanier (born July 22, 1967) was the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC). Lanier was appointed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty in January 2007, replacing outgoing Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. She is the first woman to achieve the position. In May 2012, Mayor Vincent C. Gray agreed to retain Lanier as police chief under a new five-year contract.[1] On August 16, 2016, it was announced that Lanier would retire from the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia in September 2016 to become Senior Vice President of Security for the National Football League.[2] Her last day as Police Chief was September 15, 2016.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Lanier was raised in suburban Tuxedo, Maryland, on the northeast edge of the District of Columbia in Prince George's County, Maryland.

Lanier dropped out of junior high school after the ninth grade, and became a mother at the age of 15.[4]

She has both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in management from Johns Hopkins University and holds a Master of Arts in national security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California; her thesis was Preventing Terror Attacks in the Homeland: A New Mission for State and Local Police.[5] She attended an executive education program at Harvard Kennedy School. She also performed part of her undergraduate studies at Prince George's Community College, and the University of the District of Columbia - where she also received her GED.[6]

She now resides in the Fort Lincoln area of northeast Washington's Ward 5, close to her hometown.[citation needed]


Lanier joined the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia in 1990 as a foot patrolman. In 1994 she was promoted to Sergeant, and, two years later, a Lieutenant, before becoming a patrol supervisor. In 1999, she became a Captain and, later that year, was promoted to Inspector and placed in charge of the Department's Major Narcotics Branch/Gang Crime Unit. In August 2000, she was promoted to Commander-in-Charge of the Fourth District of the city. In April 2006, she became the Commander at the Office of Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism, Office of the Chief of Police in MPDC, overseeing, among other things, the bomb squad and the emergency response team.[7]

Lanier came under fire in July 2009 after claiming that motorists who used GPS navigation and smartphones to avoid traffic cameras were employing a "cowardly tactic".[8]

Lanier has defended the practice of arresting individuals reselling tickets to sporting events, even if the tickets were sold at face value.[9] The tactic has led to the arrest of out of town visitors who had extra tickets to see the Washington Nationals.[10]

She publicly criticized a plainclothes officer, Detective Michael Baylor, who drew his gun on a group of civilians during a Washington, D.C., Twitter-organized snowball fight as a response to snowballs hitting his vehicle on 19 December 2009. Video footage and eye-witness accounts have been used in the investigation. Baylor was placed on desk duty during the investigation[11] but returned to active duty following the completion of the investigation.[12]

She retired from the Metropolitan Police Department in September 2016 to become the head of security for the National Football League.[13]


  1. ^ Duggan, Paul (9 May 2012). "D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier gets new 5-year contract". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "DC Police Department on Twitter: "After 26 yrs with MPD, the last 10 as Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier announces her retirement effective next month"". Twitter. August 16, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ McDermott, Ryan M. (September 15, 2016). "D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier celebrates last day on the force, tinged with controversy". The Washington Times. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  4. ^ CNN Newsroom interview transcript
  5. ^ Lanier's Masters Thesis Preventing Terror Attacks in the Homeland: A New Mission for State and Local Police, September 2005
  6. ^ Nakamura, David; Klein, Allison; Schneider, Howard (20 November 2006). "Fenty Picks Lanier for D.C. Police Chief". The Washington Post. 
  7. ^ Sari Horowitz (12 June 2005). "Israeli Experts Teach Police On Terrorism: Training Programs Prompt Policy Shifts". The Washington Post. 
  8. ^ Peterson, Hayley (6 July 2009). "Police chief denounces 'cowardly' iPhone users monitoring speed traps". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  9. ^ "D.C. police chief: Scalpers can be arrested". WTOP. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Welcome, baseball fan. Go directly to jail.". The Washington Post. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Maria Glod; Theola Labbé-DeBose (22 December 2009). "Lanier blasts detective for pulling gun at snowball fight". The Washington Post. 
  12. ^ Stabley, Matthew (4 March 2010). "Pulling a Gun at a Snowball Fight Not a "Termination Offense"". NBC Washington. Retrieved 13 February 2012. "As soon as this whole process wraps up, he'll be put back to duty," Lanier said. 
  13. ^ Hermann, Peter; Williams, Clarence; Marimow, Ann E. (August 16, 2016). "D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier steps down to work for the NFL". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 28, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Police appointments
Preceded by
Charles H. Ramsey
Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
2007 – 2016
Succeeded by
Peter Newsham