ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — The City of Rockville hired their very first female Deputy Chief of Police.
This is a milestone for the department as the first woman police officer was hired in 1975. After serving 28 years in law enforcement, Laura Lanham is the city of Rockville’s first female Deputy Chief. “The female population’s half of who we serve, and there is no law enforcement department that represents that,” said Lanham of Rockville City Police Department.
Lanham believes any woman holding a high ranking makes a statement to other departments. She started her career with the Montgomery County Police Department and left MCPD as an assistant chief. She says she always wanted to be a sergeant, but with her passion, she exceeded that goal. “I was always interested in law enforcement, and took classes in college and solidified the fact I wanted to do it, and I continued that path,” Lanham stated.
One focus as Deputy Chief is something she’s familiar with and carries with her from the past, community policing. “A culture issue that’s through the department in making sure people understand it’s everybody’s role. Also, increasing the people responsible for that, day-to-day,” Lanham said.
Making it up the ranks as top cop comes with commitment. The Deputy Chief remembers a difficult decision made at an important time in her career, but she says it comes with the territory. “While I had the leave to take, I thought it was important I was with my troops, and that’s kind of how I’ve always led, making sure, to the best of my ability, that I was doing the right thing,” said Lanham, “and I don’t know what the answer is. If it’s right, it’s just simply a price most women aren’t willing to pay for something like that.”
Lanham has been in her new position for three months now.