WASHINGTON - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser officially named Interim Chief Peter Newsham as new chief of the Metropolitan Police Department on Thursday morning. Newsham has been serving as interim chief since September when Chief Cathy Lanier departed to take on a new role as the head of the NFL security team.
Newsham joined the department in 1989, and has been an assistant chief since 2004.
"As we continue our work in creating a safer, stronger DC, I am confident that Chief Newsham has the skills and relationships to successfully lead our police force," Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. "He understands and believes in community policing, and he is trusted by members of the community. As Interim Chief, he had a successful presidential inauguration and repeatedly demonstrated that he is committed to transparency and accessibility. Chief Newsham truly values and respects the residents of Washington, DC, and I know we will be able to work together to stand up for and protect our DC values."
At a news conference officially announcing his appointment, Chief Newsham said he is "honored and humbled" to be selected to fill the role permanently.
Bowser appointed Newsham as interim chief when Lanier departed, but why did it take so long for her to name him as the permanent replacement? Bowser told FOX 5 she wanted to get through the inauguration, do a nationwide search-- and it was at that point that she realized Newsham was the right choice for the job.
"I am not Chief Lanier, I don't intend to be Chief Lanier in any way, shape or form-- although I did admire and respect her as a leader and I learned alot from her," Newsham said during the news conference. "If I'm going to be the chief of police, I have to run it in a way that I think is in the best interest of Washington, DC and the folks who live here."
Trust with the community will be a top priority Newsham, and his focus will be community policing. He also spoke up for the rank and file, saying most deserve praise.
"These are good people doing good things, and they need to be recognized for that," Newsham said. "We need to inspire them and make them recognize that law enforcement is a noble profession."
The police union issued a statement backing Bowser's choice to name Newsham as the new chief, as did Lanier. It's not over, though. The DC council's Judiciary Committee will have to take on Newsham's nomination before he is confirmed.
Also Thursday, Bowser appointed Quincy Booth as the new Director of the DC Department of Corrections.
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