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US Park Police Names First Black Woman Chief in 230 Years

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Pamela A. Smith has been named the new chief of the U.S. Park Police by the National Park Service. (National Park Service)
By Kaanita Iyer
USA Today

Pamela A. Smith has taken command of the U.S. Park Police, the first time a Black woman will lead the federal agency in its 230-year history, the Park Police said Thursday.

Smith, a 23-year veteran of the force, will lead the agency’s effort to protect national parks and landmarks in Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco metro areas. The USPP is the country’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.

One of her priorities will be to mandate body cameras for all USPP officers, Smith said. This initiative will begin in San Francisco within her first 90 days and expand across the country by the end of the year, according to an agency press release.

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers,” said 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.”

Smith’s appointment is the latest in a series of historic picks for leadership roles that emphasize diversity.