Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier announced Tuesday that she will resign from her position next month to head security for the National Football League.
Lanier, who has been MPD’s chief for 10 years and on the force for 26 years, said she decided to take the job for the unique opportunity it provided for her, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Lanier’s time as MPD chief is longer than usual for chiefs, who usually stay for three or four years. D.C.’s first female police chief said she turned down offers to head other police city departments because “I owe my life to this city and to MPD.”
“This is the nation’s capital,” Lanier told The Washington Post. “What’s more important than being responsible for public safety and security than the nation’s capital? Where do you go from here right? When I thought about the NFL, it’s America’s favorite sport and what’s more important than making sure America’s favorite sport is safe?”
Mayor Muriel Bowser said she will appoint an interim chief in the next few days and then start the search for the new permanent chief, according to The Post.
“She’s built a fantastic force, professionalized the force, built a force that the community trusts which is going to be a lasting legacy,” Bowser told The Post.
Lanier earned two degrees from Johns Hopkins University and a masters from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Lanier headed the department amid the city’s homicide spike last year, with the homicide rate increasing by 54 percent in 2015, according to MPD crime data. The department also created a Robbery Intervention Task force in January to combat an increase in robberies in the city.
City officials also responded to the crime spike by confiscating illegal guns from the streets. The city recovered more than 1,600 guns in 2015, according to MPD data.
Lanier also headed MPD during communication mishaps with the University Police Department. In 2013, both MPD and UPD mishandled a pair of gun threats on campus: MPD officers waited hours to inform UPD about an armed robbery on campus, and UPD waited 15 minutes to inform MPD about a reported gun threat in South Hall, which turned out to be unfounded.