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First African-American woman to hold the position of permanent police chief in Washington, D.C., is a native of Pine Bluff



Little Rock, Arkansas – A native of Pine Bluff with more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement was named the Metropolitan Police Department’s permanent chief of police on Monday, making her the first African-American woman to hold that position.

Pamela A. Smith was sworn in as the permanent chief in recognition of her accomplishments and experience, according to a statement from the mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser.

Her early years in foster care in Pine Bluff, according to the city, fostered her love for supporting and advocating for children. She now uses her position as a pastor to mentor and coach kids and young adults in order to positively affect their lives.

The Mayor claims that throughout Smith’s more than 20 years in law enforcement, he held the position of chief of police for the US Park Police in Washington, DC. She worked in important American city field offices during that time, including those in San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.

According to Bowser’s statement, Smith joined MPD in May 2022 as the division’s first chief equity officer and was assigned to the executive office of the chief of police after leaving the US Park Service.

In the press statement, Bowser claims that Smith had a big influence during her brief tenure as chief equity officer.

Smith oversaw the MPD’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion and made sure such concerns remained a top concern.

By giving strategic counsel to the department’s executive leadership, senior management, and chief of police, she established an organizational conduit for departmental accountability.

She received a promotion to assistant chief of police at the Homeland Security Bureau in April 2023, where she is in charge of the operational and managerial tasks for the Office of Intelligence, joint strategic and tactical analysis command center, and special operations division.

Smith has received numerous honors and accolades over the course of her illustrious career from various organizations. These include the National Council of Negro Women Award for Working Together in Unity, the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Public Service Award, and the Northeast Region Equal Employment Opportunity Office Recognition of Outstanding Excellence.

In addition, the press release notes that Smith belongs to a number of groups, including the Women in Federal Law Enforcement, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Executive, and Washington Metro Chapter.

Smith holds a criminal justice education graduate certificate from the University of Virginia as well as a bachelor of arts in education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

She also holds a degree from the National Academy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Pine Bluff Police Department congratulated Smith in a Facebook post.

“Congratulations to Pine Bluff native, Chief Pamela A. Smith,” the post said. “Chief Smith has been sworn in as the new Chief of Police in our nation’s capital. Sending love and support your way from the men and women of the Pine Bluff Police Department!”


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