Women’s History Month – Cathy L. Lanier
Women’s History Month
Cathy L. Lanier
UDC Alum: First Female DC Police Chief, and Head of NFL Security
Cathy L. Lanier is accustomed to making history. She was Washington, DC’s first permanent woman police chief. Last year, she was named Senior Vice President of Security for the National Football League (NFL).
The 26-year law enforcement professional now focuses her skills on keeping America’s favorite sport safe as head of security for the NFL. Lanier oversees the security of all 32 NFL teams and their venues, working with federal, state and local law enforcement and handling security for the Super Bowl.
Lanier rose from a challenging childhood, dropping out of high school at age 14 because she was pregnant. She later earned a GED and Associate’s degree at the University of the District of Columbia. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Unit Commanders Academy. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Management from Johns Hopkins University, and a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. She is certified at the technician level in Hazardous Materials Operations.
Promoted to DC Police Chief in 2007, Lanier was one of the city’s most popular leaders because of her hands on style. Community leaders had her cellphone number, and she ordered her command staff to also be available.
Lanier frequently talked about her role as a woman in law enforcement and her early private struggles, hoping her success would inspire girls who might be struggling as she did.
On her watch, violent crime dropped 23 percent over the years Lanier was chief, and homicides fell significantly. The chief led the department through the September 2013 mass shooting at the Navy Yard, in which a gunman fatally shot 12 people and wounded three others before he was killed by police. She has also announced arrests in many high-profile crimes, including the killing of federal intern Chandra Levy.
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