Pamela Smith Makes History As Washington D.C.'s First Black Female Police Chief
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Pamela Smith Makes History As Washington D.C.’s First Black Female Police Chief

Pamela A. Smith
Newly appointed police chief Pamela Smith speaks at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., on July 17, 2023. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Pamela Smith made history on July 19 when she received the nomination to become the very first Black female chief of police in Washington, District of Columbia. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser made the landmark announcement after Smith joined the Metropolitan Police Department in 2022 and now awaits official appointment.

“I am proud, I am humbled, and I am excited to work alongside this team,” said Smith. “This historic moment is not lost on me. I join a legacy of strong African American women who lead public safety in the District of Columbia.”

Smith has an extensive résumé in law enforcement and security, previously serving as the assistant chief of the Homeland Security Bureau, overseeing the Special Operations Division and the Joint Strategic & Tactical Analysis Command Center. She served in various field offices across the country for more than two decades and was promoted to chief of police at U.S. Park Police in 2021.

As D.C.’s chief of police, Smith says her focus will be “driving down” rising crime rates in the city, according to BlackNews.com.

While she awaits final confirmation from the D.C. council, she is serving as acting police chief, according to WTOP News. Along with meeting with other city officials, Smith has already begun her “boots on the ground” approach to turning the city’s homicide rate around. “I think that we are poised to really have some impactful engagement when it comes to homicides,” Smith said. “What’s really important for me is that we have an ‘all community approach’ to what’s happening.”

A chief concern for Smith is having D.C. residents unify through a desire to make public safety the norm. “One of the things that I would like to say to the community is to provide us with that information so that we can get some of these guns and drive down some of this violence,” she said. “We want to be able to have a more effective relationship with our community.”


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