Wednesday, June 7, 2023

US Parks Police Chief Pamela Smith retires after a year’s job

Pamela A. Smith, who was named chief of the US Park Police in February last year, abruptly retired on Friday after 24 years in the department. No reason was given for his departure.

Smith, 54, was a longtime commander in the department and was the first black woman to lead the agency in its 231-year history. She was previously the first woman to head the Park Police’s New York field office, and she was the deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division and the Field Operations Division. Park Police officers are stationed in federal parks in and around the District, New York City, and San Francisco.

When Smith took over, he inherited a troubled department that had been increasingly public in recent months. It was not clear Friday night how much progress has been made in addressing these issues.

In February, the Interior Department inspector general issued a scathing report on the situation at the Park Police dispatch center in southeast Washington, saying it had been overlooked for years by police commanders. The report states that automated emergency alarms are sent to a room separate from dispatchers, which they cannot hear, that the floods at Arlington National Cemetery are not resolved, that dispatchers are poorly trained and unwise, and that Mold and bird droppings are rampant in the building. ,

Report Says Park Police Dispatch Center Has Old Equipment, Mold, Inability To Monitor Alarms

And on Wednesday, the Park Police Officers’ Association filed a five-page complaint with the inspector general, saying the agency had “engaged in gross negligence and mismanagement at great risk to the public’s safety due to the understanding of sworn personnel.” ” The Order of the Brotherhood of the Police’s Park Police Labor Committee stated that the workforce for the three regional offices decreased from about 639 officers to 494, down from the size of the force in 1975.

The complaint said Smith decided to cancel a few days off in February “to fill a massive hole in even minimum law enforcement coverage. …under the current staffing system.” “Every officer is basically on call all the time and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.” The complaint, signed by union president Kenneth Spencer, says the San Francisco office, which primarily guards Presidio Park, has up to 33 officers from a previous staffing of 83.

Then on Thursday, the union filed a 25-page complaint with Smith, citing the dispatch center’s problems and misunderstanding as a matter of endangering officials. “The Department of the Interior/National Park Service does not give our current head, Pamela Smith, the equipment they need.” “To make the USPP a success and provide quality law enforcement service to the public in the San Francisco, New York, and Washington metropolitan areas,” the complaint says.

Spencer was surprised by Friday evening’s announcement. “This is news to us,” Spencer said. “It is unfortunate because we were hoping that we would achieve some things together, he being a former union executive. But unfortunately that is not going to happen now, so we wish him well in his future endeavours. Wish.”

Smith did not respond to an email Friday seeking comment. He announced his departure without giving any reason by sending an email to the department at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. “I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming weeks as I end an extraordinary career,” Smith wrote.

Smith’s announcement said his resignation would be effective April 30.

Deputy Chief Christopher Stock was appointed interim chief.

When Smith was hired last year, she said she was going to implement body-worn cameras for the department, which had no cameras on its cars or its officers. Last May, Smith announced that San Francisco officials would start wearing such cameras by the end of 2021. Spencer said Friday that he is wearing them now.

US Park Police will start wearing body cameras in San Francisco, they say will be in NY and DC by the end of the year

The only other federal officials who currently use body cameras are rangers in the National Park Service and officers in the Fish and Wildlife Service, according to testimony and information finalized by the House Natural Resources Committee. Justice Department – with more than 43,000 sworn agents in the FBI; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Marshall Service — does not use body-worn or in-car cameras.

Smith followed up the two chiefs with some stormy stints. He met former premier Robert D. McLean, who was promoted to chief of the Interior Department’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security in August 2019, and who maintained a strict silence over the 2017 killing of unarmed motorist Bijn Ghaiser by two Park Police officers in Fairfax County was kept. , McLean declined to release any information about the shooting, or to address allegations of poor behavior by the Ghaiser family’s own officers while trying to see Ghaiser lying in a coma.

In a news conference after being appointed, Smith said that “one of my first priorities as police chief is to be briefed about what happened,” and that he was “of course to provide a response.” Was curious.” But the Ghaisers said they never heard from him.

Pamela Smith appointed US Park Police chief

In November, the Interior Department served notices to officials involved in Lucas Vineyard and Alejandro Amaya that they would be fired within 30 days. According to emails obtained by The Washington Post, Smith told officials in a roll-call meeting that he had not been consulted on the move and that he supported the union’s opposition to the move. A lawyer for the officers said sacking the officers without due process violated several aspects of their union contract, and the officers remain in the department on administrative leave with pay. The murder charges against him, filed in 2020, were dismissed by a federal judge in October, but Fairfax prosecutors are appealing.

Acting Chief Gregory Monahan serves after McLean, and oversees the actions of the Park Police as they aggressively drove protesters from Lafayette Square before a visit to St. John’s Church for a photo opportunity by then-President Donald Trump on June 1, 2020. pushed out. Monahan testified before Congress, and an inspector general’s report later confirmed, that Park Police did not act on Trump’s behalf, but were instead moving to expand a protective perimeter for officers in the park.

Monahan also confirmed that Park Police had no recordings of their communications that day, and that a newly purchased radio system was not properly configured to record broadcasts. Ghasar case officials have said that they were riding together on the night of the shooting due to problems with the radio system.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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