D.C. Police Chief Keeps 'Options Open'

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 2, 2006

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said last night that he is exploring other professional options in case the District's new mayor does not want to keep him as the city's top cop.

It was the first time Ramsey publicly talked about moving on from his job if the incoming mayor, widely expected to be Adrian M. Fenty, asks him to leave.

"Let's just say I'm keeping my options open," Ramsey said. "I'm not going to be caught short."

Ramsey has met once with Fenty since the Ward 4 council member handily won the Democratic nomination for mayor in September, and both men said that nothing concrete was decided at that meeting. Fenty has long been a harsh critic of the chief's leadership of the department.

Fenty said last night that he would not make any decisions about cabinet-level positions until after the election Tuesday.

"I have to get elected first," Fenty said. "Right after that, we won't waste any time."

He remained fairly neutral when asked whether Ramsey has been an effective chief for the city.

"I think the current administration has taken the police department forward over the past eight years," Fenty said. "And there's a lot left to be done."

Ramsey said that in light of the situation, he would "be foolish" not to look at other employment options.

"It's getting close and I haven't heard anything, and obviously things are up in the air here," Ramsey said. "I've got responsibilities, and I take that very seriously."

Ramsey was recently in the running for the Boston police chief job. But he said that during the process, he told Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino that he wasn't ready to leave Washington.

"I told them the timing wasn't right for me," Ramsey said. "But I was flattered they'd consider me for something like that."

Late last month, Menino named Edward F. Davis III as police commissioner. Ramsey said he is not talking to Menino about any other positions in Boston.

Ramsey has been police chief in the District since 1998 and is the city's longest-serving chief in more than three decades of home rule. He came from the Chicago police department, where he was deputy superintendent.

Ramsey said that after being chief in Washington, he's not sure whether he would want to lead another local department. He said he would look more to the private sector or to a homeland security position, but he declined to be specific.

The 56-year-old Ramsey said, "I'm in my prime now."

"I'm going to look and see what's available," he said. "I'm not angry or bitter."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company