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DC gets first female Chief

By Brett Zongker, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON- A veteran of 16 years on the force has been named chief of police for the District of Columbia, the first woman to serve as permanent chief of the department in the nation's capital.

Cmdr. Cathy L. Lanier, currently head of the Metropolitan Police Department's homeland security office, was named Monday by Mayor-elect Adrian M. Fenty.

Besides fighting crime in the city, D.C. police coordinates presidential motorcades and law enforcement during major events like presidential inauguration parades and protest marches.

Lanier will replace Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who had sparred with Fenty over the use of police in neighborhoods. The mayor wants more officers in street patrol.

"I do think there are lots of different ways we can do things," Lanier said at a news conference with Fenty and Ramsey.

Fenty praised Ramsey for reforming a dysfunctional police department, but said he chose to replace the chief in part because this month's election was a mandate for change.

"I think it's always appropriate to look to people who can come in with a new set of eyes," Fenty said.

He said Ramsey told him six years ago that Lanier would make a great chief. "I can't think of anyone better suited to take over the reins," Ramsey said.

Although Lanier, 39, will be the first woman to lead the 3,800-person force on a permanent basis, Sonya Proctor was interim chief before Ramsey was installed in 1998.

The appointment must be approved by the D.C. Council.

Nationally, about six large cities have female police chiefs, including Detroit and San Francisco, according to the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives in Carver, Mass.

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