Lanier Joins the Gray Administration

James Wright | 12/21/2010, 3:18 p.m.
One of outgoing D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's most successful department heads recently decided to join...
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has drawn high marks from business and community leaders for her outreach efforts. Courtesy Photo

One of outgoing D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's most successful department heads recently decided to join the new mayoral administration.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has agreed to stay on her job. Her new boss, D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent Gray, was enthusiastic about keeping Lanier in her position.

"Four years after becoming the District's 'top cop', Chief Lanier enjoys an 80 percent job approval rating among D.C. residents, according to a recent Clarus poll," Gray, 68, said at a press conference announcing his choice of Lanier and others on Thu., Dec. 16 at the Reeves Center in Northwest.

"The public's confidence in her abilities results from great progress in reducing crime and violence that she and the police force have achieved. Chief Lanier, however, recognizes that we can do better."
Gray said that Lanier, 43, has been charged with making community policing "an even higher priority."

"She has signed-on to implement an anti-crime strategy that involves, community policing, education, even-handed enforcement and arrests, social services and certainty of punishment," he said.
Gray's selection of Lanier was considered a surprise by some observers because she is viewed as a Fenty loyalist. However, Gray's selection does not surprise Michael Fauntroy, assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
"She has the highest favorability rating of any official in the city," Fauntroy, 45, said. "It makes sense for Gray to keep her."

It is a tradition in Washington and other cities for the mayor to select their own police chiefs. The police chief is considered a signature appointment in terms of what a mayor wants to accomplish regarding public safety.

Fauntroy said that Lanier's selection shows what has become a trend among new mayors in Washington: continuity.

"It does not surprise me that you have some Fenty people in the Gray administration because there were holdovers of the administration of Anthony Williams in the Fenty administration," Fauntroy, a resident of Northwest, said.

Lanier said that she was "happy to be a part of the Gray administration" and "will work hard to serve the citizens of the District of Columbia better."

Lanier was appointed by Fenty to be police chief in 2007. She is a resident of Ward 5 in Northeast and has spent her entire law enforcement career with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department.

Joining Lanier at the Dec. 16 announcement was Paul Quander, who will be the deputy mayor of public safety and justice; attorney Irvin B. Nathan as the District's attorney general; and Kenneth Ellerbe, who will serve as the chief of the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical
Services Department.

Gray said that his appointments will set the tone for public safety in his administration.

"These four public safety leaders will work with me to ensure that police, fire, emergency and legal services and initiatives are planned and delivered in a coordinated fashion to win the public's trust," he said.

On Fri., Dec. 17, Gray announced his customer service team at the Reeves Center. The team consists of Harriet Tregoning as director of the Office of Planning; Nicholas A. Majette as the director of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; William O. Howland Jr., who will stay on as director of the Department of Public Works; Lucinda Babers as director of Department of Motor Vehicles; Soohyun "Julie" Koo will continue as the executive director of the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs; Ronald Collins as the director of the Office of Board and Commissions; and Eric Richardson will be the director of the Office of Cable Television.

Gray said that these appointments reflect his desire that service to D.C. residents remain at a high level.

"I value their institutional knowledge, commitment and dedication to the District of Columbia," he said.

"Residents can rest assured they will work with my administration to bring new and innovative ideas, projects, programs and improvements to respond to the needs of those who live, work and do business in the District of Columbia," he said. WI