John McCaslin

D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey had to laugh when telling The Beltway Beat that he's been around law enforcement long enough - three decades and counting - that "when I used to write the letters DNA all over my police reports, it stood for Does Not Apply."

Chief Ramsey says he still relies on DNA in his police work, albeit today it stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, or the genetic material in humans.


Speaking of veteran police chiefs - or, in this case, a former U.S. Park Police chief who was fired by the Interior Department for going public with departmental budget concerns in this age of terrorism - you'd never know that Teresa Chambers was embroiled in a lawsuit against Uncle Sam over her dismissal.

"People say to me that you must regret (accepting the police chief's job), and I answer, 'Regret? No! It is the greatest place I've ever been. I have the best memories.'"

Or so Chambers, a 30-year police veteran and former police chief in Durham, N.C., told the Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration during its annual awards dinner Tuesday (where, if we might digress, The Beltway Beat column was honored with the 2006 Hodding Carter Outstanding Journalism Award).

In remarks centering on ethics in the workplace, the whistle-blowing former chief, who accused the Bush administration of silencing dissenting viewpoints such as her own, praised President Bush's father, former President George Bush, for observing that a true leader uses his or her power "to help people . . . to serve people."

"A leader leads by good common sense," she recalled. "A leader leads by taking risks."

She cited the popular leadership checklist used by retired Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, particularly his Rule 14: "Do what is right."

However, she pointed out, one need only think of his or her grandmother when confronting an ethical quandary: "Ask yourself, 'What will grandmother say?' Stay within those boundaries, and you'll be OK."


The National Rifle Association this week delivered once again on its role of upholding the Second Amendment, as Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco signed into law the NRA-backed Emergency Powers Protection Act.

The law prevents governments in her state from confiscating firearms during a state of emergency, as took place in New Orleans last year.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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