From Matt Rhoades. Email him at matty[at]borderstan.com
Featured image: Diane Groomes at the 2012 Pride Parade on 17th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)
Welcome to another of our occasional profiles of Borderstan People — interesting and sometimes even well-known people who happen to live in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Today’s profile Q&A is with Diane Groomes, Assistant Chief in charge of the Patrol Services and School Security Bureau for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
While she is not a Borderstan resident and no longer patrols the neighborhood, she has a history in the area as the head of a Police Service Area (PSA) in Dupont-Logan, and is still known to many residents and community leaders. So, let’s call her an “Honorary Borderstani.”
Borderstan: First, a bit about your personal background. Where did you grow up? When did you decide you wanted to be a police officer?
Groomes: I am originally from Pittsburgh and moved to Washington after college to pursue a career in law enforcement. I went to college at first to become a high school math and Latin teacher, but changed majors in my junior year due to not doing well in the math department – loved the student teaching however.
Borderstan: When did you join the MPD? Were you an officer at another law enforcement agency?
Gromes: I then joined Fairfax County Police Department in 1988 and waitressed full-time in Virginia. I joined MPD in Oct 1990. I was assigned to the 4th District as a patrol officer in March 1991 – and was immediately involved in the Mount Pleasant riots.
Borderstan: You have a long history with the Borderstan community. Fill us in on exactly the positions you held as a PSA Captain. Also, what were you doing before being promoted to Deputy Chief for Patrol Operations?
Groomes: In 2000 I was promoted to Lieutenant in the 3rd District and assigned to PSA 309 — which was then Logan Circle/Dupont Circle. I also had to manage PSA 310 as well as run the Street Crimes Unit and Club Zones. I was promoted to Captain in 2004 and remained in the 3rd District. Next, after six months, I became Inspector of the 3rd District substation. In August 2005 I was promoted to the 1st District Commander. In September 2007 I was promoted to my current position, Assistant Chief of Police, Patrol Bureau
Borderstan: What’s the most rewarding part of your job… your years as an officer in DC?
Groomes: The most rewarding time of my job was as a sergeant. You still be in the field and work so closely with the officers. In the 5th District, I had a great team of officers that clearly made a difference in the area, and I also got the opportunity to start my community connections. Many of those citizens are my best friends and consultants today. I still love the community outreach work. I also love how policing has changed with technology and is based more on intelligence work.
Borderstan: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Groomes: The Most challenging thing is when you cannot eliminate an issue totally… drug area or a robbery issue. With all actions in place and good officers, crime still persists. There is also the need for major social services to those that we serve daily so that they can be deterred from committing crimes. You want to totally help so many, but you learn that there are not enough resources due to the need — and also many do not accept help or want help to change their lives.
Borderstan: What does a “typical” day entail?
Groomes: A typical day entails the hours from 8 am to 10pm — vast meetings, strategy sessions and nightly community meetings. After work I spend time reading materials related to policing, as well as newspapers to keep up to date — while hitting the gym late at night. However, I may may still get a call to respond due to a major incident or an incident where an officer may get injured. Some of the best days are AHOD [All Hands on Deck] weekends when I can be out on the street, answering calls, attending events and talking to officers out in the field.
Borderstan: What recommendations or tips do you have for citizens to help them stay safe? What can citizens do to become more involved in MPD’s efforts?
Groomes: The best advice for citizens is the old-fashioned saying, “Be aware of your surroundings” and go with your instinct. Always pay attention to what is around you when walking home, keep focused and its good to be with others when walking late at night, especially from a nightclub venue. Always cooperate with the demands of a robber if you are attacked — don’t risk your life over money or a cellphone. Be a good neighbor and call 911 if you see something. Report it! I am a major advocate for Neighborhood Watch programs. Know your neighbors!
Borderstan: Anything else you would like to share with the readers of Borderstan about your life or working in MPD?
Groomes: I believe I am so lucky for I love the work that I do. The MPD has treated me so well and given me many opportunities and experiences as an officer. I also thank all the citizens/officers that I have been able to meet over the years that really have made my job meaningful.
From Matty Rhoades
MPD has started a series of seven meetings around the city to present new police district and police service area boundaries. Locally, it appears that the Dupont area is in for some changes — the area east of 18th Street and north of Q Street NW will be transferred back to the Third District from Second District.
At present this area is part of Police Service Area (PSA) 208. The most notable part about these new boundaries is that it would split the 17th Street commercial corridor between two districts and two PSAs.
The Third District meeting is Thursday, June 9 at 7 pm. Location is 1620 V Street NW. New police district and Police Service Area boundaries will be presented to the public, according to MPD Assistant Chief of Police Diane Groomes. “We want all to come out to the 3D CAC meeting tomorrow night to see the changes… 3D will be having changes to their boundaries to balance out the workload,” said Groomes.
According to Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes, a chunk of Police Service Area (PSA) 208 will go back to the Third District. There will likely be an additional PSA in the Dupont-Logan area as well.
It’s the Monday after Christmas. Only two days after Christmas. However, one of the things I love about living in DC is that people seem to have more vacation time here than in other parts of the country. I guess it’s the government jobs and the trade associations and their tendency to be more generous with annual leave time. So, let’s ease into the week, shall we? After all, another holiday is coming up this Saturday. Note: SYMHM is simply a better headline than Stuff You Might Have Missed for space reasons.
ANC 2B Holding Nov. 30 Meeting on Hank’s Oyster Bar
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B is holding a special meeting next Tuesday, Nov. 30, on Hank’s Oyster Bar. Location is the Hotel Dupont (Dupont Circle and New Hampshire Ave. NW) at 7 pm.
The meeting will deal with the ANC’s recent letter of protest sent to the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board on Hank’s recently terminated V.A., it’s request to expand next door and it’s outdoor dining hours.
After the letter was sent, ANC 2B reached an agreement with Hank’s on the patio hours, with the current hours to be maintained and, apparently, written into the restaurant’s liquor license. See Tom Hay’s story from Wednesday: ANC 2B and Hank’s Reach Agreement on Patio Hours.
MPD’s Groomes Placed on Administrative Leave
Assistant Chief Diane Groomes has been placed on administrative leave by MPD Chief Cathy Lanier. The action was taken due to alleged issues around police exams. The Washington Post had a story on Friday: “A high-ranking D.C. police official has been placed on administrative leave over allegations that she was involved in “compromising” a test given to fellow members of the department’s command staff, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier announced Friday.”
Groomes is well known, liked and respected by many residents in the Dupont-Logan area — she was formerly head of a local Police Service Area (PSA) in the neighborhood. Based on Groomes’ record, let’s hope this turns out well all the way around.
HR-57 Headed to H St. NE
Washington City Paper’s Michael J. West reported Sunday that HR-57 is loading up the wagons and moving to 9th and H Street NE. The HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz & Blues has been at 14th and Corcoran since 1993. Owner Tony Puesan confirmed the move to City Paper.
Decrease in Metro Benefits for Federal Employees
Will you lose SmartBenefits® when a new federal law goes into effect on Jan. 1? The new maximum monthly benefit for federal government employees drops to $120 from $230.
Wednesday August 6th, 6pm
15th Street Presbyterian Church (15th and R Street)
- DC Council member Jack Evans (Ward 2)
- Assistant Chief of Police Diane Groomes
- Commander George Kucik (3rd Police District)
- Borderstan Residents and Neighbors
We’ll discuss and address neighborhood concerns about crime in our neighborhood. Please invite your friends and neighbors to attend this important meeting
For more information, email: [email protected]