Chief Lanier sends goodbye/thank you email, introduces interim Chief Peter Newsham

MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier sent an email to the MPD listservs this afternoon thanking residents for their support, and introducing the new interim chief of police, Peter Newsham. Chief Lanier's email is below:

Good afternoon, I wanted to take a few moments to write and thank you for the support that you have given me over the past 10 years.  As a team, we have accomplished many things that would have been thought unachievable 20 years ago.  We were able achieve record low violent crime rates to include the lowest number of homicides since the 1960’s.  While homicides rose last year, I am happy to report that through our efforts, they are leveling off to numbers consistent with 2014.  Overall, our department’s progress is continuing and D.C. will continue to lead the nation in progressive policing.  Rest assured that the decision to accept the job with the NFL was one of the hardest decisions that I have ever made –  and I have had to make some hard ones.  However, I leave knowing that we have some very talented managers who will continue to advance the department. 

With that said, yesterday, Mayor Bowser made the excellent choice to appoint Assistant Chief Peter Newsham as the Interim Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department upon my departure in mid-September. I wanted to take a moment to introduce him to you and to outline what this means for the next few weeks.

I have worked with Assistant Chief Newsham since I joined the force, and am pleased to call him not only a trusted advisor, but also a good friend.  While the media can tell you what is in his resume (which you can see [on the MPD site]), I can tell you what he is like as a cop and a leader.  He is a passionate leader that truly cares about this city and its residents.  He, like me, takes it personally when innocent people are victimized.  He is well-known for presenting a calm, reassuring presence in the community and on the street with the officers. 

I am confident that this experience has prepared Assistant Chief Newsham well to be a strong leader for the Department and our city.

Over the next few weeks, until mid-September, I will still be the Chief of Police.  I will, however, be involving him in every aspect of my job to ensure a smooth transition.  So don’t be surprised if you see more of him in the coming weeks than me.  In the meantime, I hope that you will continue to support him and the Department as you have always for me.

I will miss you all and think of my time as your Chief for the rest of my life.  My heart will forever remain in DC and I will support our city in whatever way possible.  Again, thank you for your support over the years and I ask that you support Assistant Chief Newsham as he continues our progress as an agency. 

Thank you,
Chief Lanier


Introduction email from Chief Newsham

Assistant Chief of Police Peter Newsham (photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

I would like to thank Mayor Bowser for her confidence in me, and Chief Lanier for her support as I take on this new role for the Metropolitan Police Department and the District. When the Mayor asked me if I would serve as the interim Chief of Police until she has an opportunity to conduct a more thorough national search for a permanent Chief, I told her that I would be honored to accept the position. After serving the District for more than 26 years, there could be no greater honor than leading this outstanding police department in a city that is more than just the nation’s capital.  Those of us who have policed here know that the District is home to the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods filled with people committed to the well-being of their families, their neighbors, and their communities, and to the future of this city.

As we all know, these are challenging times around the country for law enforcement and our communities. Yet every day here in the District, I see moving examples of our community’s support for the men and women of MPD, and of the sacrifices that our employees make for this community. For our city – our communities, our neighborhoods, and our youth – to be successful, we must work together to ensure that this relationship is continually getting stronger.  Our mission is to serve and protect everyone in DC, but we need your trust and support to do that well.

As your interim Chief, I will have two overarching and interconnected priorities:

  1. The cornerstone of a successful police department is the relationship that the department has with the community it serves.  The residents of the District are entitled to have a police department that is professional, responsive, empathetic, and, most importantly, trusted. MPD’s officers have a positive and strong relationship with the community, and my goal is to continue to work with both the community and our members to build on those successes.
  2. Our officers won’t be able to achieve priority number one if they are not themselves happy, healthy, and productive members of our police department.  The most important assets that we have in this line of work are the people who do the job.  I want to do everything I can to insure that our officers and civilian employees are healthy in spirit, mind, and body. Ultimately, this will benefit the community as well.  

I look forward to working with you to foster a safe and thriving city, where our police force will serve as the national model for fair, unbiased, and constitutional policing.

Thank you,
Assistant Chief Peter Newsham