WASHINGTON - Members of the D.C. Police Union are holding a first-ever vote on whether they still have confidence in Chief Cathy Lanier.
The vote is being done electronically with officers able to cast their secret ballots from a phone, tablet or computer. The voting began Friday and will continue through Sunday.
The D.C. Police Union cites eight grievances that have angered officers, including no cost-of-living adjustments and what they describe as toxic management.
During an appearance on WAMU radio, Chief Lanier said she is taking the vote seriously.
"I do take it seriously and I think there is no secret that we are coming up on election time for the union and that it's during an 'All Hands on Deck,’” said Lanier.
It is a fact that appeared to bother the chief, knowing that her officers were being asked to vote on her ability to lead on the same weekend that she is asking everyone on the force to work.
After the WAMU appearance, Lanier expanded on her opinion.
"It's not that I am doing things to intentionally disrupt their lives, but I understand that they’re upset about it," said Lanier.
"So you’re saying it was unfair to hold the vote this weekend?" FOX 5's Paul Wagner asked.
"No, I didn't say it was unfair. They can hold the vote whenever they want, really. It's irrelevant when they hold the vote," Lanier said. "I think the fact that they’re doing it during an 'All Hands on Deck' at a time when people are having to come in and work when they normally – there’s about 400 people that don't normally work evenings or weekends that will be working evenings and weekends this time."
The unhappiness with the chief has been building for quite some time. The D.C. Police Union lists a number of grievances, but bitterness over the most recent contract has lingered as well.
"The officers have lost confidence in Chief Lanier's ability to effectively lead this organization. We are doing things that are just completely frustrating the workforce, like putting them on fixed posts, having a crime occur around the corner and they can't respond for fear of discipline," said D.C. Police Union President Delroy Burton.
Burton said officers are not being allowed to be the police and that has left them frustrated. He said Lanier is giving information to the public that is not true and the officers no longer trust her.
Voting ended on Sunday night. The union said it plans to release the results of the vote Monday morning FIRST on FOX 5 morning news and put out a press release at the same time.