"We're Out Looking…"

Let’s All Be Careful Out There.

UPDATE: MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier postpones “Ask the Chief” program on WTOP.

At the time of Robert’s murder, Charles Ramsey was in his eighth and final year as MPD Chief of Police.  His tenure was certainly full – the Sept. 11th attacks, the Chandra Levy murder, the controversial Pershing Park demonstrator arrests of 2002.  Four short months after August 2nd, he was out.  Perhaps with the Wone case, he finally met his match.

Do Not Cross

Do Not Cross

Regardless, D.C. has a new police chief: Cathy Lanier.  She’s proven herself able – both in the job and at media.  Just this week she made an appearance in Parade magazine, touting new ways to fight crime.  One quote caught our eye:

“At a recent press conference held after a bloody Fourth of July weekend in which six people were shot to death in D.C., she warned the killers: ‘We’re out looking, and if we don’t have you yet, we will have you very soon.'”

We applaud the sentiment.  Now it’s time to take that same spirit and re-commit to solving Robert Wone’s senseless murder.  August 2nd, 2009 – the third anniversary of Robert’s murder – Chief Lanier told both WRC and WJLA that the case is “…very active…” and therefore she could not comment.

We had hoped today to pose a few questions regarding MPD procedures to Chief Lanier on WTOP’s “Ask the Chief” program, which she normally does on the first Thursday of each month.

However we’re told by WTOP that Chief Lanier “…is not on the schedule…” at this point.  We admit to being a bit disappointed, and sincerely hope our efforts had nothing to do with her decision.  Regardless, she will be on at some point, and we will have our opportunity.

posted by Doug

11 comments for “"We're Out Looking…"

  1. Clio
    08/06/2009 at 11:17 AM

    Sigh! I wonder what the code words “very active” mean. Could they mean: Reading this blog? Taking Sarah to the Red Lobster? Indulging in a sea-weed wrap from Dylan?

  2. Craig
    08/06/2009 at 12:45 PM

    Clio – I guess “very active” is a clever euphimism for “we’re lost.”

    It should be noted that the Chief has an interesting and accomplished bio.

    Her wiki page says that “Chief Lanier rose to her position from humble beginnings: she was a high-school dropout after ninth grade and an unwed mother at the age of 15. (She) joined the MPDC in 1990 as a foot patrolman… In 1994 was promoted to sergeant, two years later, a lieutenant, before becoming a patrol supervisor. In August 2000, she was promoted to Commander of the 4th District.

    She has advanced academic degrees from the Johns Hopkins Univ. and the Naval Postgrad School… She also attended the JFK School of Gvt at Harvard and is a graduate of the FBI Academy…”

    Hopefully she’ll join WTOP on the first Thursday in September, the 3rd. Just a week before the next status hearing in the case.

    • CDinDC
      08/06/2009 at 2:48 PM

      A very accomplished person, indeed.

      Unfortunately, you are only as strong as your weakest link.

      Chief Lanier, if your out there “listening”, tighten up that ship. Big mistakes are being made.

  3. Clio
    08/06/2009 at 3:16 PM

    Thanks, Craig, for that translation and context.

    “We’re lost” … after three years and the same three (or four) persons of interest? Oh, it may be worse than anyone had thought! Cathy with a C, call your office.

  4. Clio
    08/06/2009 at 8:51 PM

    That Baldacci piece in Parade certainly does make Chief Lanier look serious, but, then again, the author may be just gilding her bio for his next novel, which, as he states, happens to be about a female police chief. Where does fact end and fiction begin?

    At any rate, for the Wone family, one can only hope that the current occupant of “Cruiser One” is every bit as promising as her press releases and sound bites. Yet, from my outside-the-Beltway perspective, it is difficult to see in what ways that her positive energy will make much difference at all in an investigation stuck at “very active” for the last three years. She (like Chief Ramsey before her) has got a lot on her proverbial plate!

  5. Kim
    08/07/2009 at 1:08 PM

    Craig: Or, perhaps, “very active” means continuing to examine and test existing evidence, continue to look for new evidence, pursuing new leads, continuing to interview people, etc. Based on the Chief’s credentials and accomplished record, I have no reason to doubt she is doing everything she can to solve this horrendous murder. I also sincerely doubt she would cancel her WTOP appearance simply because folks were planning on asking her questions about this case. You don’t get to be top cop by hiding from the press or public.

    • CDinDC
      08/07/2009 at 1:59 PM

      With all due respect to Chief Lanier, if she were solving this case alone, we may have some answers, but the case is handled by the department she oversees, not her specifically. She’s not out there holding the hand of every police officer on the force.

      That being said, Chief Lanier has the smarts and power (top cop, she is) to shake the Metropolitan Police Department up.

      The blunders that have occurred in the Wone case should never happen again.

      • Kim
        08/07/2009 at 7:35 PM

        I agree that the blunders should not have happened. I don’t understand how at this day and age, they can screw something so important so royally.

  6. Craig
    08/07/2009 at 2:00 PM

    Kim – Thanks. We don’t chalk up Chief Lanier’s absence this week on WTOP to anything but scheduling issues.

    I maintain that “very active” is still spin. It’s a handy phrase to use when speaking about any pending investigation whether leads exist or not.

    One question she may be able to answer is why Robert’s name is still missing from the MPD database of 1996’s unsolved homicides.

    • Kim
      08/07/2009 at 7:49 PM

      I believe the answer is MPD will not classify a homicide as “unsolved” if they still have viable suspects and/or have active leads. In this case, we have defendants who could still face murder charges if additional evidence is obtained that conclusively links them to the actual muder or if one of the defendants decides to give up one or more of the other defendants in order to cut a deal. I have a friend who is a prosecutor and will ask him.

      • CDinDC
        08/07/2009 at 7:52 PM

        Somebody needs to drop a dime!

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