Named as defendant in numerous Second Amendment lawsuits over the years, the District of Columbia’s police chief is taking a job in security for the National Football League.
Lanier, who was appointed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty in January 2007 to become the agency’s first female chief, announced Tuesday that she is leaving the department after 26 years effective Sept. 17 to become senior vice president of security operations for the National Football League.
“I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be the chief of the nation’s capital,” said Lanier, who came to the department in 1990 with a 9th grade education and is leaving with two masters degrees. “No place in the world deserves a sense of safety than the nation’s capital and I feel like the transition for me now to the NFL — it is America’s favorite sport — and that also deserves that same sense of safety.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on the occasion said, “Chief Lanier has improved police-community relations and built trust with residents,” and thanked Lanier for her “strong and innovative leadership.”
However, not all are sad to see Lanier leave.
Although Washington D.C. has one of the nation’s harshest assault weapon bans, Lanier agreed to provide firearms to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to display at the Capitol in a push to enact a new federal ban.
In 2013, Lanier’s department advised lawful gun owners in the city they had to re-register their firearms or face criminal charges punishable by a fine up to $1,000 or one year in jail, or both and receive a new ID card that had to be updated every three years. In 2014, she asked gun owners to register once again after the department lost part of its electronic fingerprint database.
The chief in charge of the department when the pro-gun Heller decision was handed down by the Supreme Court, she was named in her official capacity in a host of subsequent lawsuits over the city’s continued ban on concealed carry.
Once federal courts struck down the city’s ban on concealed carry, Lanier strictly enforced DC’s rules until the city established a draconian “may-issue” permitting scheme under which the chief only granted eight permits, rejecting most applicants. This, in turn, led to more lawsuits and a federal judge to hold the city’s “good reason” requirement for a gun permit to be likely unconstitutional.
Earlier this month, Lanier was named in a suit over the city’s ban on stun guns while crime rates are up — with a 54 percent jump in homicides in 2015 — and burglars even looting a news van during a daylight press conference given by the chief announcing a new robbery task force.
Nonetheless, when appearing on national media, Lanier advocated that people caught in an active shooter event should work together to “take the gunman down, to take the gunman out” as “the best option” before police arrive.
While her change in career path is not lamented by some gun rights advocates, they expressed little hope of a more open-minded chief to fill Lanier’s shoes.
“While she has not been a friend to gun owners or the Second Amendment and we have had to file suit against her in her official capacity as police chief, I am sure that the Mayor and City Council will find an equally anti-gun rights person to replace her with,” Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, told Guns.com Wednesday.
In her new role with the NFL, Lanier may come across some familiar faces. Last year Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones left the agency to take a job as special counsel for conduct in charge of making initial disciplinary rulings for the League.
The organization is happy to get Lanier on board.
“We are excited to welcome to our team an individual of Cathy’s talent and extensive record of accomplishments,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in statement. “Cathy joins us with a well-deserved reputation of being a tremendous communicator, innovator, and relationship builder.”
After 26 yrs with MPD, the last 10 as Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier announces her retirement effective next month pic.twitter.com/Y0eYDH7BsB
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) August 16, 2016