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D.C. Council unanimously confirms Pamela Smith as new police chief

Her confirmation comes as the city struggles with a litany of violent crimes and an uptick in criminal activity overall.

Published: November 7, 2023 6:12pm

The Washington, D.C., City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved acting Chief Pamela Smith to the post in a permanent capacity, placing her at the helm of law enforcement in the nation's capital amid an ongoing crime wave.

A 24-year veteran of the United States Park Police, Smith joined the Metropolitan Police Department in 2022, eventually serving as the MPD's leading figure on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion before becoming acting chief, according to WUSA9.

Her confirmation comes as the city struggles with a litany of violent crimes and an uptick in criminal activity overall. As of Tuesday, the city has witnessed 235 homicides this year, marking an uptick of 33% over 2022. Robberies have surged 68% while violent crime in general has risen 40% over the year prior. Motor vehicle theft, moreover, has doubled.

Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar became a high-profile victim of the crime wave in early October after being carjacked at gunpoint in the Navy Yard neighborhood. The shock crime followed news that Congress had held an advisory session for Capitol Hill staffers on how best to avoid becoming the victim of such crimes.

Highlighting the severity of the situation was a July warning from the consulate of Mexico, warning citizens of the notoriously crime-rich country that "[t]he city of Washington, D.C. is experiencing a significant increase in crime in areas previously considered safe. Take precautions. In an emergency, call 911."

But City Councilmembers are optimistic Smith can turn things around in the city, asserting that the city had already begun seeing signs of a reversal during her tenure as acting chief.

"In her time already leading the department, [Smith] has launched efforts that are already showing progress including a crime suppression unit, robbery task force and a traffic safety compliance check point program," Councilmember Brooke Pinto said after the vote, per WUSA9.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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