Late Friday afternoon, D.C. police dropped the bomb that Assistant Chief Diane Groomes was being placed on administrative leave following allegations that she helped officers cheat on a training exam. With no new details from the department, the news continues to bounce among the advisory neighborhood commissioners (ANC) who know and love Groomes. They register various emotions.
“I can’t imagine her doing anything wrong”
Carol Green of ANC 6B says she’s in shock at the news. “I can’t believe anyone would accuse her of any wrongdoing, let alone her be guilty,” she says. Green has known Groomes for 10 years (“we greet each other with a hug and a kiss”) and describes her effort to organize community policing efforts in the neighborhood. “If there was something happening, she was there,” she says. “If there was some big crime, she was there. And that continued even after she left the First District.”
“I found her to be very effective”
Francis Campbell, ANC 6B, didn’t have a personal relationship with Groomes but says she was “very receptive” to working with the community. “I can remember back when we did not have a police chief who was as visible as she has been,” he says. He’s disappointed to learn of her administrative leave. “It seems like when you get someone as effective as she is, there’s allegations of impropriety, so to speak.”
“You can ask anyone about her down here”
Mark Dixon of ANC 6C says he has known Groomes since her commander days. “We’ve been on a first-name basis,” he says. “She comes to a lot of my ANC meetings. Mostly every month, every time I call her. And I go to her meetings.” He says he respects Groomes and has no complaints about her.
“I don’t remember hearing any criticism about her”
“As with all government workers … there’s always complaints that someone’s not doing enough,” says David Sobelsohn of ANC 6D, but this was not true of Diane Groomes. Sobelsohn, who worked with Groomes early in the Fenty administration, says she effectively worked to reduce youth violence in the neighborhood. “We were very pleased to have her here,” he says. “Seeing her promoted was in some way a disappointment because we didn’t want to lose her.”
“If you had a problem, you sent it to her”
“She got with you,” says Naomi Monk, former president of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly and current community activist. “It didn’t matter if it was Saturday, Sunday.” Monk says Groomes was known to be trusting and speculates that she might have been manipulated in this situation. “I believe she’s one of the best, if not the best, police officers I have every worked with.”