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First Black woman named as head of United States Park Police

Pamela A. Smith plans to establish a program for body cameras within 90 days.

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The National Park Service has named Pamela A. Smith hs the new Chief of the United States Park Police. (Credit: National park Service)
By: Alyssa Wilson

The National Park Service announced Pamela A. Smith as the new Chief of the United States Park Police last month.

This makes the 23-year-veteran the first African American woman to lead the agency in its 230-year history.

Shawn Benge, who is the Deputy Director of Operations, said the department will work with Smith to strengthen the organization’s transparency.

“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. 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.” – Shawn Benge

Smith said it is an honor for her to serve in this new role. “Today’s officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities,” she said. “I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity.”

One of her first actions in the role includes a plan to establish a program for body cameras within her first three months. It will begin in San Francisco and be executed throughout the country.

“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,” she said.

Smith is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

She is also a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.