DC Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham Named Interim Chief

What to Know

  • Newsham will serve as chief while officials seek a permanent replacement for Chief Cathy Lanier, who announced she will retire.
  • He has been with MPD since 1989, according to a bio on the department's website.
  • Lanier's last day will be Sept. 17.

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham will become interim chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Tuesday.

Newsham will serve as chief while officials seek a permanent replacement for Chief Cathy Lanier, as News4 was first to report. 

Lanier announced a week ago that she will retire from the department after 26 years of service.

Newsham joined the police force as a rookie in 1989 and rose in the ranks. In 2008, he was named the assistant chief of the Investigative Services Bureau.

He spoke exclusively with News4 on Tuesday and said he will work to work to maintain police-community relations.

"As I serve at the interim, I intend to be as visible as I can be," he said. "I am not Cathy Lanier. I am Peter Newsham. And I intend to be Peter Newsham. And I hope that the community will see me for what I am."

He spoke about Lanier's legacy.

"... She made us as an agency be more responsive, to be more empathetic and to work every day to have our community trust us," said Newsham, who holds a bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross and a law degree from the University of Maryland's School of Law.

The D.C. Police Union has fought with Lanier over staffing and assignments but has worked well with Newsham, chairman Sgt. Matthew Mahl said.

"Whether it's the interim chief, whether it's the permanent chief, whoever that chief is going to be, they want a chief that's going to back the working officer," Mahl said Tuesday.

Lanier will become senior vice president of security for the NFL. She will begin work at the league's New York office next month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced last week.

There will be a nationwide search for a new police chief. Several sources said they believe Bowser wants a new chief who can step right into the role, not learn on the job as she prepares to run for reelection.

Newsham said he will serve as long as necessary and that he wants to be considered by Bowser for the permanent job.

"I intend to do this job as long as the mayor will have me," he said. "I'm committed to this agency. I'm committed to this city."

Newsham's top priority is public safety, he said. 

Lanier's last day will be Sept. 17.

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