NEW YORK — The NFL is starting the season off with a new head of security.
Washington D.C. Chief of Police Cathy Lanier was named as the league’s Senior Vice President of Security on Tuesday.
Lanier, a 26-year veteran of the DC police department, worked as a cop in uniform for much of her career before being named chief in 2007.
During her time as chief, violent crime in the city fell by 23%.
Her rise to the top of the DC police department was particularly remarkable because in her youth she was a teenage mom who dropped out of high school and became a single parent. At one point she was living on food stamps.
Lanier, 49, will retire from the force next month and start work in the NFL’s New York City office. Her current contract was set to expire in January. According to city records, Lanier made over $250,000 a year as police chief.
She will oversee the league’s security department and will work with its 32 teams and federal, state and local law enforcement.
Lanier will coordinate security of fans, players, staff, venues and infrastructure at all games, including the Super Bowl and international games.
She will also oversee investigations into player conduct and allegations of cheating by teams.
During a press conference, Lanier said she was sad to leave the police force, but said the NFL “deserves protection too.”
In addition to serving with the D.C. police, Lanier graduated from the FBI National Academy and the DEA’s Drug Unit Commanders Academy.
“We are excited to welcome to our team an individual of Cathy’s talent and extensive record of accomplishments,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Cathy joins us with a well-deserved reputation of being a tremendous communicator, innovator and relationship builder.”
The NFL’s former head of security, Jeffrey Miller, resigned in May.
Lanier’s hiring comes after several incidents of domestic violence were committed by NFL players. In March 2015, the league hired a new head of investigations, Lisa Friel, who handles domestic violence issues.