The chaos and terror that engulfed the Washington Navy Yard on Monday put former Durham police chief Teresa Chambers in the eye of the storm as police officers from a range of jurisdictions tried to find the man who was on a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard.
Chambers, who headed the Durham force from 1998 to 2001, is now is chief of the U. S. Park Police, an agency that has law enforcement authority over all of the District of Columbia, sharing that with the Metropolitan D.C. Police.
In the command post at the Navy Yard, Chambers said Tuesday, she and D.C. Chief Cathy L. Lanier stood side-by-side, directing whichever police officers were most easily available as the situation developed and teaming them whenever possible.
It was, Chambers said, a two-man team of a Park Police officer and a D.C. officer who shot Aaron Alexis “to stop the carnage.” He had killed 12 people.
“When the chips are down, people jump in,” Chambers said by telephone. “We don’t have a lot of charts on the wall,” she said, to lay out which agency has dibs on what tasks in an emergency.
The Navy Yard incident, the former Durham commander said, showed law enforcement “teamwork at its best.”
“So much has to do with who has the resources” for a task, such as when the FBI moved in to handle the complicated investigation of how and why the tragedy happened.
“The FBI asked to take over the situation, and we (Chambers and Lanier) said, ’Please do,’” she said.
Washington, Chambers said, “is the most fantastic place to engage in law enforcement in the nation.”