- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I was disappointed to read the article published in The Washington Times regarding a termination case involving a member of the Metropolitan Police Department (“Fired D.C. cop questions Lanier’s impartiality,” Page 1, Friday).

As reported in the article, the termination case arose out of the terminated officer’s relationship with and disclosure of confidential information to a convicted drug dealer. While personnel rules prevent me from commenting on the specifics of the case or the various claims reportedly made by the union attorney on behalf of this officer, I am compelled to address two points.

First, the Metropolitan Police Department is serious about protecting the identity of any citizen who seeks to make anonymous complaints regarding crime. Citizens must be able to make such complaints without fear of retaliation so that they may continue to play a critical role in the department’s ongoing mission to prevent and solve crime. Any member of the department, at any rank, who fails to protect such a citizen’s identity will be held accountable. Publishing the identity of an anonymous complainant, as your newspaper did on Friday, undermines public safety efforts. Your decision to publish the complainant’s name exposed her to further potential harassment and physical retaliation while doing nothing to advance or otherwise support the story.

Second, all members of the department are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that aims to avoid bringing discredit upon themselves or the department, and to conduct their public and private lives in accordance with the high standards expected for those in the position. As both law enforcement officers and public servants, we are mindful that we are always in the public eye and that our conduct, both on and off duty, has consequences for our public safety efforts.

As recent events have demonstrated, the department will be unrelenting in rooting out and removing from its ranks those few individuals who betray the public’s trust and through their conduct tarnish the reputation of this department. Washington residents and the brave men and women of this department deserve no less.

CATHY L. LANIER

Chief of Police

Metropolitan Police Department

Washington