Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, who frequently is the face of the department as he discusses major crimes before reporters or addresses the D.C. Council, was named interim police chief Tuesday to take over for the retiring Cathy L. Lanier.
Newsham has been an assistant chief for 14 years of his 27 years on the force and now serves as head of the criminal investigation division, overseeing all homicide cases and high-profile robberies, burglaries and assaults.
The 52-year-old, a lawyer and member of the Maryland State Bar Association, will take over Sept. 17, the scheduled last day for Lanier, who is leaving to be chief of security for the National Football League.
Newsham takes on the interim role amid an ongoing search for the next permanent chief under Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D).
Bowser has said she will concentrate on internal candidates but accept applicants from department outsiders.
In a statement Tuesday, Bowser said that a posting for the chief’s opening will be published soon and that after a contender list is winnowed, “a small group of community stakeholders will be involved in vetting final candidates.” Sgt. Matthew Mahl, chairman of the police union, said he has been told the labor group will be part of the process.
Bowser hailed Newsham as having “deep roots serving the District” and said he “believes in the power of building relationships with communities as the best way to deter and solve crime. He has served the people of the District of Columbia for almost three decades and in that time has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the District and to its residents.”