Monday, November 20, 2006

Washington is getting a woman as chief of police

By Nancy Jane Moore

Incoming DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has selected Commander Cathy L. Lanier to serve as the city's next Chief of Police, subject to the approval of the City Council.

All I know about Lanier is what I read in The Washington Post and what it says in the very fast bio of her that is now up on Wikipedia, so I won't pretend that I know whether she'll be a good chief.

But I'm thrilled to see a woman named to the job. The more women we have in jobs that were once assumed to be the sole province of men, the more steps we'll take toward real gender equality in this country.

Lanier certainly has good credentials: She started out as a patrol officer and worked her way up to commander in 16 years. She currently heads the special operations unit, which includes counterterrorism and homeland security. Along the way she not only put herself through college, but also picked up a couple of master's degrees, according to The Post.

And like Fenty, she's young -- The Post gives her age as 39. She's also white.

The part of her bio that impressed me the most, though, is that she dropped out of high school in the ninth grade and had a child at 15. Yet here she is, with a solid career about to take a high-profile job. It's good to see someone who didn't let youthful missteps hold her back.

At this point, I'm rooting for her. We'll have to wait and see how well she does the job.

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