University and local leaders banded together this week to protest a decision to transfer Lt. Phillip Lanciano – the Metropolitan Police Department officer assigned to the Foggy Bottom area – to another police district.
Lanciano served as a local Police Service Area lieutenant, working frequently with community members and the University to alleviate crime in the area. GW’s Government and Community Relations office, the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the Foggy Bottom Association drafted letters to MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and D.C. Councilman Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, asking that they reinstate Lanciano to his post in the 2nd District, where he has served for the past 11 years.
“Everybody agrees – the community, the University, everybody,” ANC Commissioner Asher Corson said. “I hope this is one of those times when they try to make everyone happy instead of making everybody angry.”
While on vacation with his family in Florida last week, Lanciano was notified via e-mail that he would be transferred from the 2nd District to the 6th District in Southeast D.C. effective immediately upon his return.
“We’re very upset about it and we really think it is the wrong decision and that it has not been handled well,” said FBA President Joy Howell.
University Police Department Chief Dolores Stafford also said she was disappointed with MPD’s decision.
“The relationships that he has built over the years at GW and in the community have been invaluable to this PSA,” she said.
It is the second personnel shake-up in the 2nd District this week, after District Commander Mark Carter was replaced by MPD Inspector Matthew Klein after less than a year on the job.
MPD officials have yet to release an official explanation behind Lanciano’s transfer or the other shake-ups in the 2nd District.
One MPD officer, who said he knew Lanciano, said the lieutenant is a victim of a personal vendetta from MPD.
“You have got to piss someone off to get transferred to the 6th District in Southeast – the murder capital of the nation,” said the officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Corson and Howell said one possible reason for the transfer was because Lanciano’s experience in Foggy Bottom could be an asset in the 6th District. Howell said a recent increase in crime in the 2nd District could be another explanation for his relocation.
Lanciano is still on vacation and was unavailable for a comment. His replacement, Lt. Alesia Wheeler-Moore, also could not be reached for comment.