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FOP Flop

DC's police union can't touch Chief Cathy Lanier.

Doesn’t Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Kristopher Baumann know by now that D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier can do no wrong?  Lanier walks on water in this town, yet Baumann continues to be a thorn in her side.

The FOP’s threats of litigation are endless, and may include Lanier’s latest decision for heightened police presence following the government’s “credible” terrorist threat against Washington. This time, Baumann went to the media to complain about the 12-hour shifts officers were ordered to work. 

The problem is, when it comes to protecting Washington against threats of terrorism, the FOP would be hard-pressed to find any city resident, let alone any city official, to give a damn about Baumann’s labor concerns.

Let’s just give a very brief synopsis of Lanier’s track record. During her tenure, the District’s violent crime rate has plummeted. Lanier’s “All Hands on Deck” police initiatives rake in hundreds of arrests and illegal firearms. She has put her stamp on the very idea of community policing. No, some of her tactics do not jive with labor laws, but good luck convincing a judge to strike down her tactics. Why? They work. That’s why.

No one wants to go back to the days when D.C. was known as the murder capital of the world, and in order for the District to keep attracting people back to the city, it needs a police chief that produces results. Agree with her tactics or not, Chief Lanier has produced results.

Kris Baumann has had plenty to say when it comes to the way Lanier does her job, but at least she does her job, and does it well. 

Baumann and the FOP have been up in arms ever since Lanier introduced her All Hands on Deck police initiative, which alters officers’ schedules when they’re ordered to work 12 hour shifts several weekends out of the year.

The organization has criticized various appointments for high-level MPD police positions.

Baumann and the FOP caused a big stink over female officers’ lack of adequate facilities for breastfeeding on the job.

Baumann and the FOP have criticized MPD’s practice of providing police escorts for celebrities. 

Now they’re upset because a warning from the federal government about a potential terrorist threat prompted Lanier to put her officers on 12 hour shifts again. It may be a legitimate concern for a labor union, but it’s certainly not enough to make a police chief change what she’s doing to keep a city safe.

The FOP has said it’s unclear where the overtime money would come from, and even hinted it may come out of taxpayers’ pockets. Lanier fired back, claiming the federal government would pay for the overtime.

The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter where the money comes from. This is Washington, “Fort Washington” as I like to call it. It’s downright silly to think a labor union or any amount of money would change the security practices of the city at the helm of the free world.

Besides, people love Cathy Lanier. Don’t ask me how she does it. She just does it. She’s got a way of dealing with people, and the media. She talks tough, and her department backs it up.

Baumann should know by now he can’t touch the chief with a ten-foot-pole. If he ever comes close, Lanier will be long gone having landed some ridiculously high paying security gig.

Kristopher Baumann and the Fraternal Order of Police, out of pure necessity, have to keep Lanier’s feet to the fire. It’s what all labor unions do. A labor union has to show its members that it’s doing something with all those dues to keep management in check. 

Whether a union is really doing something to keep management in check is irrelevant. It’s all about keeping up appearances, and it’s all the FOP can do when it comes to Chief Lanier.

J825 September 18, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Just to inform you every case the FOP has brought against DC Gov't, they have one. Then DC Gov't appeals it and is in limbo for years. During contract negotiations DC wanted to strip the officers of their benefits that a regular employer would give to their employee. Are the officer going to give up everything to protect the city? They are hard working and should be appreciated by their chief. Many officers have left the department due to her actions. Moral is down and they feel they have been brushed aside. 12 hour shifts are stressful on any person. Your sleep deprived and putting your life at risk because your reflexs are slowed down. There will be times 12 hours shifts are necessary. Yet, for one week and canceling days off when the threat is over is pushing it. FOP is not being unreasonable, their looking out for their members.
Carla Bicks September 18, 2011 at 03:41 PM
I wonder if they would be so hard on the police chief if she were a 'HE'
Doug Parrish September 18, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Thanks for commenting, J825. Whether the FOP has valid arguments or not is irrelevant. Chief Lanier rules her department with an iron fist, and she'll continue to. Why? She produces, and the city's residents (and government officials) love her for it. Lanier will continue to get away with it, too... until she resigns. I'd love to hear what other readers have to say...
On the Beat September 18, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Interesting story Mr. Parrish, albeit a one-sided one at that. You forgot to mention many trangressions and violations of law. Some have been found to be unconstitutional. I'll say it again - unconstitutional. Unfortunately, many of these quick decisions and refusal to play by rules will cost the city millions in law suits. Stop and think about that for a moment. And let us not forget a few cover ups that managed to somehow peek into the public's attention before fading into the usual 24-hour memory-span that DC residents seem to suffer from. A quick example is one written about by this very publication. Something about a cheating scandal and a high level assistant admitting to compromising a test involving members of the executive staff of the police department? (Do a quick search for Assistant Chief Names Former Commander as Whistle-Blower in Police Testing Scandal) Look, in the end, its up to the public to decide what is best for them and for the city and who they want at the helm. I suspect, that as you said, when the rulings finally come down, Lanier will be far away earning a good paycheck elsewhere and DC residents will be left holding the bill. Again, its all about choices. God speed.

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