Category Alumni

Cathy Lanier, chief of the D.C. police for the past nine years and an alumna of the Public Safety Leadership program, has been named senior vice president for security by the National Football League.

“We are excited to welcome to our team someone of Cathy’s talent and extensive record of accomplishments,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. “Cathy joins us with a well-deserved reputation of being a tremendous communicator, innovator and relationship builder.”

Lanier, who joined the Metropolitan Police Department in 1990, rose from the rank of patrol to chief in 2007. She is one of the nation’s longest-serving, big-city chiefs, and has led the department though several high-profile incidents, including the 2013 mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

Most of her career has been in uniformed patrol, where she served as commander of the Fourth District, one of the largest and most diverse residential patrol districts in the city. She also served as the commanding officer of both the department’s Major Narcotics Branch and Vehicular Homicide Units.

“Cathy joins us with a well-deserved reputation of being a tremendous communicator, innovator and relationship builder,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The Washington Post wrote of Lanier: “She has remained one of the city’s most popular leaders. [She] was ubiquitous in neighborhoods throughout the District, addressing residents angry over crime, hugging crying mothers of homicide victims and answering the most mundane questions on Internet bulletin boards. Community leaders had her cellphone number—and used it—and she ordered her command staff to be just as available.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Lanier “built a fantastic force, professionalized the force and built a force the community trusts which is going to be a lasting legacy.”

Lanier earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management from the School of Education. In 2014, she gave the keynote address at commencement and received the Woodrow Wilson Award. The Wilson award honors alumni who have brought credit to the university by their public service. She was also the featured speaker at the 20th anniversary of the Public Safety Leadership program that year.

“All of us have been very proud of Cathy’s many accomplishments over the years,” said Doug Ward, director of the Division of Public Safety. “This new appointment is magnificent. Although this presents U.S. law enforcement with a tremendous loss of talent and leadership, the NFL will gain a stellar security future.”

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