City Desk

Was Chief Cathy Lanier Supposed to Resign Today? Don’t Ask Cop Kris Baumann

D.C. police union chief  Kristopher Baumann has had a tough time getting through dinner of late. Just last Wednesday, members of a news outlet Baumann declines to name called him six times as he tried to scoop his vittles. If it's not reporters coming at him, it's residents: "I tried to buy a soda at the store, and I got caught for twenty minutes." Each time Baumann is asked to give up the vital information he's being pestered about, he tells the truth—he has no idea what the future holds for Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier.

Though Baumann has started asking people to stop asking him about Lanier, that doesn't stop folks from passing plenty of rumors along to him.

Today, for example, he was told by some "political" sources that the chief would be resigning at a 12:00 p.m. press conference. Just in case you're wondering... that didn't happen. Asked about the scuttlebutt, Lt. Nicholas Breul of MPD says he hasn't heard anything about Lanier "leaving anytime soon."

But that kind of sounds like another rumor, and as many times as Baumann has heard Lanier is on her way out, he's heard that incoming mayor, Vincent Gray, has decided to ask the popular police chief to stay on.

If that happens, even though Baumann and Lanier have butted heads on many occasions, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) head is prepared to deal with it. "If he decides to keep her, we will proceed accordingly," Baumann says.

Another rumor that's been flung Baumann's way is that the chief and mayor-elect are conducting "secret meetings" about whether she should stay. Baumann doesn't put much stock in the gossip: "There's no way to track that down." But it would kind of make sense.

The departure of nationally adored and locally criticized schools chancellor Michelle Rhee in the wake of Gray's primary victory likely has those who have been wondering about Lanier on pins and needles now that the general election is over. The Washington Post says business interest will pressure Gray to keep the chief, but Gray also owes a debt to the FOP for supporting his candidacy. (The rank and file officers that make up that organization are said not to think very highly of Lanier. They haven't gotten a raise since she started her post, after all)

A few secret meetings might help Gray to find the best way out of  his dilemma. Also, it might be a good idea for him to figure out if Lanier actually wants the job. Cops say Lanier's position means grueling hours and lots of stress, and as City Desk previously reported, Lanier has an extremely sweet retirement package that kicks in the moment she's either fired or decides to walk.

In that case, as a spry 43-year-old retiree, Lanier would pull down a salary that exceeds $100,000 a year plus benefits. Which doesn't sound like a bad situation—and might even inspire her to tell Gray to look elsewhere.

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  • kob

    Why does Gray need to replace Lanier? Is that part of the deal with the police union?

  • Jack

    While Lanier boasts about the drop in homicides -- which began long before she became Chief, and has been observed everywhere in the U.S., not just here -- she says nothing about the increase in robberies, from 3500/year during Ramsey's last years, to 4000/year now. Lanier's favorite ploy is "all hands on deck", which police officers know is utterly bogus police work, taking highly trained officers off their jobs to become ordinary patrol officers. They hate it, and resent being forced by the Chief into spending their time wandering the streets, while neglecting their real duties.

    Lanier has great PR and is quite photogenic, hence her very high approval ratings. But it's all fluff, while crime in DC is on the increase.

  • Rick Mangus

    For Gray it's time to pay for that union support and heads will roll! It's 'Back To The Future' DC and we will pay for it dearly!

  • downtown rez

    Any sane DC citizen can see the improvement in MPD response and MPD professionalism under Lanier.
    She and her entire management team should definitely stay.

  • try2staysanendc

    Lanier must go NOW.

  • Blue Pen

    Why would Lanier leave?

  • mpd fan

    Kob: Cathy Lanier left behind her fellow officers not when she became chief, but when she became Fenty's enforcer. In the position she chose to accept, she violated the Fair Labor Standards Act more than any other chief. Is it part of any deal to get rid of people who abuse their workers, forcing them to take on hours at the last minute All Hands on Deck?

    The deal is that she has no cred with her officers.

    Maybe they should keep her on, but make her work midnights in District 7, including weekends. I do respect her service, but she made the choice to enforce bad labor praactices. And that's the beef.

    Our cops deserve better leaders than what she has chosen to do to them.

  • DCexpat

    Her skin color is wrong according to many Gray supporters, enough said. Also, many DC residents have a racial commitment to crime so they'd rather not have any sort of effective policing at all, thank you very much. Until their loved ones are killed of course, then its all about "where the police at?" Lanier should move on to greener pastures for her own benefit.

  • samantha

    The Cover Up Queen has overstayed her time . Now Domestic Violence Reports may tell the r Real Truth about King Fenty ! Her departure means No More Cover Up!

  • Rick Mangus

    'samantha', someone told me the same thing about Fenty and his temper and my source is someone who knows about the violence in the Fenty house first hand.

  • Jacob

    Lanier should be fired because she seems to lack any understanding of or respect for the Bill of Rights and consequently DC taxpayers have had to pay tens of millions of dollars in settlements, court ordered payments and litigation costs resulting from initiatives like "neighborhood safety zones" which she decided to go ahead with despite multiple warnings that they were clearly unconstitutional. Additionally, she continues to waste large amounts of taxpayer money on things like surveillance cameras and "All Hands on Deck" which MPD's own statistics (as well as independent studies) have shown to be completely ineffective.

  • DCDem

    Rhee did an ok job continuing the improvements brought to MPD by Mayor William's Chief, her mentor, Chief Ramsey.

  • DCDem

    Nor Rhee....oops...Lanier.