Chief of Police with the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia Cathy Lanier: hugs the down-and-out and gives out her mobile phone number. Photograph: Drew Angerer/The New York Times

Cathy Lanier’s early life plays like a season of MTV’s Teen Mom. Skipping school at 13. Pregnant at 14. Married at 15. Separated at 17, on food stamps(...)