Yesterday, the National Park Service announced Pamela Smith has been named the new Chief of the United States Park Police (USPP), the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. Smith, a 23-year veteran of the USPP, will become the first Black woman to lead the 230-year-old agency when she begins her new role on February 28.
“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.”
The USPP is a 560-member workforce that serves to protect the public, parks and the nation’s most iconic landmarks in the Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco metropolitan areas. In one of her first actions, Chief Smith will establish a body-worn camera program for USPP within 90 days. The program will initially begin in San Francisco and be implemented across the country by the end of the year.
“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.”
During her distinguished law enforcement 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.
“Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said NPS Associate Director for Visitor and Resource Protection Jennifer Flynn, who oversees the NPS’s law enforcement programs. “As federal law enforcement officers, the U.S. Park Police officers have a new opportunity each day to give their best to the American people. Chief Smith exemplifies that approach as a colleague and mentor, and she will be instrumental in refining and shaping the future of the organization.”
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (Session 265), and a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. She is also a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.
Photo and news source: National Park Service news release