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.