Major Stephanie C. Lansey (Courtesy Photo)
By Ralph E. Moore Jr.
Special to the AFRO
Major Stephanie C. Lansey is a daughter of Baltimore who grew up in Harlem Park, graduated from Park School and the Notre Dame University of Maryland.
And after having been on the Baltimore City police force for 21 years, she now assumes command of the Eastern District.
Major Lansey has a masters degree in criminal justice from the University of Baltimore. She holds two police leadership certificates and was a member of the Leadership Maryland class of 2017.
Her resume is impressive, revealing quality education, training and experience. Lansey has served in the Southern District, been a hostage negotiator since 2005 and for seven years worked in criminal intelligence. She also served in the Protection Unit for mayors Martin O’Malley and Sheila Dixon.
She is the first woman to run the district, considered along with Western District as the toughest in the city. She proudly follows in the tradition of Violet Hill Whyte, the first woman and the first African American hired by the Baltimore Police Department in 1937.
Like Whyte, Lansey cares about young people. She is a mentor to a Park School student and three Lakeland Elementary-Middle School children from the same Nigerian family (two boys and two girls). She puts faith in them as her grandmother, a retired Chesapeake and Potomac manager from Mocksville, N.C., believed in her. “She was a constant push,” Lansey said. “She pushed me to be what I wanted to be. When I was a young tomboy and wanted to wear an Incredible Hulk mask for Halloween, she supported me.”
Lansey remains calm in tense situations, a skill that has served her well in hostage situations and will continue to do so as she interacts in the Eastern District. She has the ability to listen, trying to bring healing into a difficult situation. Though expected to end her hostage negotiator function upon attaining the rank of lieutenant, she requested to maintain it. She works with a team of negotiators as part of a crisis response team of the Police Department.
She was delighted to receive a gracious welcome from the community members she met recently in a Community Relations session. Speaking of her district residents, “The poor community gets frustrated. They feel they are trapped in their environment.” She agrees her ability to listen intently and to give concrete help getting jobs and housing as well as other services needs to be the positive side of the Eastern District. Decreasing drugs and gun violence will continue to trend downward in the district as the latest statistics are indicating. For Lansey the key to improving the district is in having a good relationship with East Baltimore community members.
Lansey is pleased to see women being promoted in the department. She does not support the notion of defunding the police; but she does embrace thoughtful and gradual diverting of some services being done by the police to more appropriate agencies. And she does believe in other agencies coming in to assist the BPD such as the clinicians who help with the Crisis Response Team. The Police Department goal is to train 30% of all the officers in each district in crisis intervention.
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