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Live Blog: Ask the Chief with Cathy Lanier

Thursday - 12/2/2010, 11:54am  ET

Ask The Chief

Dec. 2, 2010 - D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier talked about the verdict in the Chandra Levy murder trial, winter preparedness, the corruption scandal in Prince George's County, crime in the city, and stalled contracts with police department employees.


WASHINGTON - D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier was a guest Thursday on WTOP's "Ask The Chief" program. Here's what she had to say:

10:56 a.m., speaking about the verdict in the Levy murder trial, and cold-case investigations:

We revitalized whole Cold Case Unit in 2007 to go after these cold cases.

There are two images of D.C. I'm trying to shed: The old image of D.C. as the homicide capital of the world, and the city of unsolved murders. We've had tremendous success with very talented detectives and prosecutors.

10:54 a.m., speaking about D.C. Council and Mayor-elect Gray's absences at police officer funerals:

What matters is that those funerals are filled with police officers.

It has to be a personal decision made by the elected officials. Sometimes maybe a high-profile elected official showing up could be distracting.

10:52 a.m., speaking about D.C.'s rank as the fourth-most-dangerous city :

Many, including FBI, the report source, believe that this report is flawed.

10:47 a.m., speaking about the corruption scandal in Prince George's County:

What worries police chiefs is when you see organized corruption. That should not be allowed to flourish.

The scandal is an example of a vulnerability, particularly when officers have outside employment.

10:46 a.m., speaking about handicap parking fraud:

So far this year we've issued about 8,000 tickets for violations of handicap parking. The difficult thing is if someone has a handicap placard or a hanger, it's impossible to tell on sight if they have a disability.

10:44 a.m., speaking about stalled contracts with department employees:

I do believe they deserve a pay raise, a cost-of-living increase is reasonable.

As chief of police, I have no authority to negotiate pay or benefits. Only the Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining can.

It's inaccurate to say I denied a pay raise.

10:42 a.m., speaking about her pay and pension:

Longevity pay is given to police officers and firefighters for a reason. I receive the same percentage at 20 years as everybody else. As police chief I receive a 10 percent increase on top of the annual 3 percent increases that I'm getting.

I'm earning about $9 an hour if you break down how many hours I work.

10:40 a.m., speaking about her future under a new mayor:

Of course I would love to say.

As soon as I know I'll let you know. I've met with the transition team and talked with Chairman Gray.

10:35 a.m., speaking about police department budget cuts:

The budget has been cut over the past several years, multiple times.

"The good thing is I've always been able to have some input on where the cuts would have the least impact. I don't know that I will continue to have that input because we've cut everything outside of personnel services, which about 92 percent of the budget."

"I have to get creative to make sure I'm using just the most critical parts of the police department," such as gas usage and vehicle maintenance.

My goals is to not go beneath 3,900 officers.

10:31 a.m., speaking about pedestrian safety:

There have been 12 pedestrian fatalities this year, down from 14 at this time last year, and down 54 percent from "a couple years ago."

"A lot of that is due to the automated enforcement, which people get frustrated at but it is saving lives."

From what I see, you have fault on both sides, with some pedestrians walking out into traffic.

10:23 a.m., speaking about the reopening of nightclub DC9, and her comments of a "savage beating" there of a man by "vigilantes":

I do not have concerns about the club reopening, and am confident in their new security conditions.

"When someone loses their life, people want information and want it quickly."

We had charging documents, which is what I based my words on.

10:14 a.m., speaking about the legality and utility of speed cameras, particularly in work zones:

"The goal is to get people to stop speeding to begin with."

"295 can often be like the Autobahn without speed enforcement up there."

Police have issued 11,088 distracted driving tickets so far this year.

These tickets are not issued to police, since the law exempts them from enforcement, but they are disciplined.

10:06 a.m., speaking about girl's body recently found in a dumpster:

"The way information is evolving so far I think we do have a good chance of closing this case and pretty quickly."

10:03 a.m., speaking about Assistant D.C. Police Chief Diane Groomes, who is on administrative leave following allegations that she was involved in cheating on a test given to command staff:

"The allegation is that the assistant chief may have compromised the testing process for some members of the command staff."

Her investigation "will always be within the parameters of what the personnel regulations say."

"Just to ensure the integrity of the test, I dismissed the entire test and am reissuing a whole new test so there is no question of everybody's integrity."

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