Washington, DC – Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Pamela Smith as the next Chief of the D.C. Police Department (MPD) today, making her the first African-American woman to lead the city’s law enforcement department.
The historic appointment comes at a critical juncture in the city’s history, when crime is on the rise, putting citizens on edge.
Smith’s path to this distinguished position has been nothing short of inspirational. She has law enforcement experience and formerly worked for the United States Park Police before joining the MPD in 2022.
Her narrative, however, began long before her career in law enforcement.
“She came through the Foster system in Arkansas, rose through the ranks of several different police departments, and found her passion through serving her community.”
Smith, a former foster child, surmounted several obstacles to become a revolutionary leader in law enforcement. She brings her unique experiences and views to the post as an ordained youth pastor for the past 20 years.
Smith intends to leverage her wide past to positively affect the area’s at-risk youngsters, noting, “I stand here today as someone who, as a child, had no hopes, no dreams, they were far beyond my reach.” But I believe everything is possible.”
Chief Smith’s impassioned comments at the MLK Library earlier today left many in awe, prompting others to question if she had prior experience as a preacher.
“She inspired many people at MLK Library earlier today with a stirring speech.”
Many people wondered if she had any experience in the pulpit, and she does. “She has been a preacher and a youth minister for 20 years.”
Chief Smith underlined the necessity of community-centered policing in a city dealing with an officer shortfall. She promised to prioritize public safety walks in various districts and to strategically deploy cops to crime-ridden communities.
“The community wants the police to be the police, and to do so in a constitutionally safe and respectful manner,” she said.
Residents who were hoping for good change backed Chief Smith’s approach. “Our strategy will include the voices of Washington D.C., and those voices are very anxious to now have a new police chief in charge,” said Darren Pasha, a Ward 8 resident.
Despite the historic event, Chief Smith’s nomination is still subject to approval by the D.C. Council. Nonetheless, Mayor Bowser and the City Council are determined to get the process along so that Chief Smith can lead the department successfully.
Chief Smith’s ascension coincided with the retirement of Assistant Chief Pamela Wheeler Taylor, who had been in charge of the Youth and Family Engagement Bureau.
Chief Smith welcomes the difficulties ahead with unyielding conviction as she takes on her new post. “Our officers are doing an excellent job.” Can we improve? Yes, and I will be in charge of guaranteeing that,” she answered firmly.
The country awaits Chief Pamela Smith’s historic appointment, vowing to lead the D.C. Police Department with compassion, devotion, and a clear vision for a better and more secure city.