Pamela A. Smith has over 25 years of law enforcement experience and a decorated career having achieved numerous commendations and awards. While in the United States Park Police, Smith served in major city field offices across the United States including San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and Washington, DC, rising through the ranks to become Chief of Police for the United States Park Police in 2021.
She 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 her experience grew, 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 (FLETC), 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 female to serve as Chief in the agency’s 230-year-old history.
After a successful career in law enforcement with the US Park Police, Smith joined the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in May 2022 as the Chief Equity Officer, assigned to the Executive Office of the Chief of Police. She led the department's efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), made an immediate impact at the MPD and ensured that DEI issues remained 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.
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 led the operational and administrative functions of the Special Operations Division, Joint Strategic & Tactical Analysis Command Center, and the Office of Intelligence. On July 17, 2023, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that she selected Pamela A. Smith to serve as the next Chief of Police at the Metropolitan Police Department. Smith was officially confirmed Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department on November 7, 2023.
Chief Smith is well known for her law enforcement commitment and advocacy, leadership, and her skillful passion to forge relationships within the agency and across the communities she serves. Throughout her distinguished career, she has earned numerous awards and recognitions from several organizations including the National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE), 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 (FBI) National Academy (Session 265).