Pamela A. Smith on Sunday takes command of US Park Police, the first time a black woman will head the federal agency in its 230-year history, Park Police said Thursday.
Smith, a 23-year veteran of the force, will lead the agency’s efforts to protect national parks and landmarks in Washington, DC, 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 cameras for all USPP officers, Smith said. This initiative begins in San Francisco within her first 90 days and expands nationwide by the end of the year, according to a press release from the USPP.
“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers,” Smith said. “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 point is the latest in a series of historic choices for leadership roles that emphasize diversity.
President Joe Biden, who had promised diversity in leadership roles, tpede Alejandro Mayorkas was the first Latino and first immigrant to head the Department of Homeland Security. Lloyd Austin also became the first black defense secretary and will lead the Pentagon.
Biden also recently nominated Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If confirmed, she will be the first black woman to head the federal agency.
Following the attack on US Citol on January 6, Yogananda Pittman became the first woman and first black person to serve as acting Citol police chief.
Smith and Pittman are both leading agencies that have recently come under fire.
The USPP was criticized for use of excessive force during last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, including its involvement in clearing peaceful demonstrations in Lafayette Park near the White House ahead of a photo up to then-President Donald Trump.
A new commission set up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate the Citol uprising has revealed read in communication within Citol Police which may have contributed to security flaws during the uprising. The department is too investigating 35 of its officers as part of its internal probe.
This article was originally beaded in the US TODAY: US Park Police name Pamela Smith as her first boss of black woman