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Mayor Bowser Names Pamela Smith Chief of Police at the Metropolitan Police Department

Monday, July 17, 2023
After a distinguished 25-year career in law enforcement, Smith becomes the first African American woman named permanent chief of MPD

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that she has named Pamela A. Smith as the next Chief of Police at the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Smith has over 25 years of law enforcement experience, including serving as the Chief of Police for the United States Park Police in Washington, DC. During her service at the US Park Police, Smith served in major city field offices across the United States, including San Francisco, New York, Atlanta and Washington, DC. After retiring from the US Park Police, Smith joined MPD in May 2022 as the department’s first Chief Equity Officer, assigned to the Executive Office of the Chief of Police. She made a significant impact in a brief time span and in April 2023, was promoted to the Assistant Chief of Police, Homeland Security Bureau where she leads the operational and administrative functions of the Special Operations Division, Joint Strategic & Tactical Analysis Command Center, and the Office of Intelligence.
Smith began her career with the United States Park Police in 1998 as a patrol officer in the San Francisco Field Office and received numerous commendations for her proactive efforts with drug enforcement, sobriety checkpoints, and community engagement. As she grew her career, she was reassigned to the New York Field Office where she continued her remarkable work ethic and joined the Canine Unit as a Canine Handler in the Explosive Ordinance and Detection Unit. She transitioned to a Senior Instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Law Enforcement Driver Training Program in Glynco, GA. She rose through the ranks as Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Deputy Chief and was ultimately promoted to Chief of Police, becoming the first African American woman to serve as Chief in the agency’s 230-year history.
As MPD’s Chief Equity Officer, Smith led the department’s efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), making an immediate impact in the department by ensuring DEI issues remain a priority in the department. She developed an organizational channel for department-wide accountability by providing strategic advice to the Chief of Police, executive leadership, and senior management officials within the department. In addition to her DEI focus, she supervised the Directorates for Employee Well Being and Support Unit and Equal Employment Opportunity Office.
Acting Chief Smith is well known for her law enforcement commitment and advocacy, leadership, and her skillful passion to forge relationships within agencies and across the communities she serves. Throughout her distinguished career, she has earned numerous awards and recognitions from several organizations, including the Women in Federal law Enforcement Public Service Award, Northeast Region Equal Employment Opportunity Office Recognition of Outstanding Excellence, and the National Council of Negro Women Award for Working Together in Unity.
Smith is a member of several organizations including the Washington Metro Chapter, National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Executive, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE). She’s also a sought-after speaker and panelist for many platforms focused on women in law enforcement, leadership, diversity and inclusion, and more.
It was her early years in foster care in Pine Bluff, AR that fueled her passion for helping and advocating for children. And as a minister today, she uses her platform to counsel and mentor youth and young adults to make a positive impact on their lives.
Smith has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Education from the University of Virginia. She is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy (Session 265).


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