National Park Service appoints first African American woman as Chief of Park Police


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The National Park Service appointed Pamela A. Smith as the new Chief of the United State Park Police. Smith is the first African-American woman to lead the USPP and will start the job on February 28.

In one of her first actions, Chief Smith will establish a body-worn camera program. She said the program will be implemented in her first 90 days as Chief and include the rest of the country by the end of 2021.

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers, which is why I am prioritizing implementing a body-worn camera program within my first 90 days,” said Chief Smith. “This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve.” The body-worn camera program will start in San Francisco.

“Chief Smith’s commitment to policing as public service and her willingness to listen and collaborate make her the right person to lead the U.S. Park Police at this pivotal moment in our country,” said Shawn Benge, deputy director exercising the delegated authority of the NPS director. “Over the coming months, leadership of the National Park Service will explore opportunities with Chief Smith designed to strengthen our organization’s commitment to transparency. Her personal and professional experience make her acutely aware of and ready to meet the challenges and responsibilities that face U.S. Park Police and law enforcement agencies across the nation.”

“I have dedicated my career to the professionalism of law enforcement, and it is my highest honor and privilege to serve as Chief of Police,” said Chief Smith. “Today’s officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities. I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity.”

Smith has worked for the USPP for 23 years. During her career, Smith has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, academy instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, executive lieutenant to the chief of police, assistant commander of the San Francisco Field Office, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division. She was the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its Major.

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