Nightly News   |  September 18, 2013

DC police chief: Consoling families ‘a really important part of our job’

Washington, D.C.’s first female police chief describes the difficult days following the Navy Yard shooting that killed 12, and the importance of having empathy while working as a police officer. NBC’s Jeff Rossen reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the nation went through tragedy this week and a woman in a big, visible job in washington was tested on the job as we all watched. she is the police chief in the nation's capital, chief lanier . she went into action along with her entire force when the deadly shooting erupted at the complex of buildings known as the washington navy yard . she's a single mother and the first woman in that job. today she sat down with nbc's jeff rossen to talk about all of it.

>> chief on deck.

>> reporter: for washington , d.c.'s police chief , these are long days. trying to put her city back together. have you had time to stand back and reflect on the enormity of this?

>> yes. last night, you know, late in the evening is, i think, when it really started to dawn on me, you know. you start thinking about 12 people went to work the morning before and didn't come home.

>> reporter: chief lanier was in her car when the call came in. she was on scene within minutes. many of these victims are husbands and wooives, mothers and fathers. how do you begin to console a family.

>> it's an important part of our jobs that sometimes gets overlooked. you put your arm around them and say, i'm sorry for your loss.

>> reporter: as d.c.'s first female police chief , what perspective do you bring to something like this or the job in general?

>> well, i think women and men do some things differently. some things we don't.

>> reporter: differences, she said, that were on oh full display in the chaos as chief lanier comforted a fellow officer.

>> he walked over and said i was one of the first teams in. i could see on his face how emotional it was for him and how he felt. so my first instinct is to put my arms around him, give him a hug and say, you did what you had to do, you're okay.

>> reporter: compassion the city needs right now. jeff rossen , nbc news, washington .