D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released this statement following Smith’s confirmation:
“When we asked the community, in the spring, what they wanted to see in their next Chief of Police, we heard loud and clear that they wanted someone who could advocate for a better policy environment while leading MPD and engaging residents. Our community understands the urgency to both drive down crime and build up MPD. Chief Smith hit the ground running in July, sharing her story and vision, making sure she was accessible to residents and businesses, and prioritizing common-sense solutions to long-standing challenges. We have work to do, and I am proud to have Chief Smith at the helm of MPD as we continue engaging and working with community stakeholders and our partners on the Council and in the criminal justice system.”
Smith was chosen for the role in July, and previously served as the Assistant Chief of the Homeland Security Bureau (HSB), which includes the Special Operations Division and the Joint Strategic & Tactical Analysis Command Center. The Arkansas native joined MPD back in May 2022, she served as a United States Park Police officer for 24 years.
“Washington, D.C. is an amazing city. It’s filled with amazing residents, visitors, businesses and opportunities. And I am proud to live as a resident in Ward 8. As a law enforcement officer and a member of this community, I am also troubled by the crime that is plaguing our community. Which is why it is important for me, to be engaged in wanting to make the District of Columbia safer. I am passionate about ensuring public safety,” Smith said after she was appointed as Interim D.C. Police Chief on July 17.
Smith’s confirmation is a significant step for the police agency which has been without a permanent chief after former chief Robert Contee retired from MPD in June. This transition comes as MPD is experiencing challenges with staffing and officer retention. Additionally, homicides, violent crime, and total crime are up compared to this time last year.