WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Pamela Smith said she is committed to tackling violent crime across the district.
Smith was confirmed unanimously to the role of chief by the council Tuesday, after serving in the role as acting chief for nearly four months. On Wednesday, she addressed the media on her first full day in the role.
“Today I am honored and humbled to stand before you as the chief of police,” she said.
Smith takes over the department at a time when crime is up across the District.
Year to date, homicides are up 33%, robberies are up 68% and motor vehicle thefts are up 100%.
Smith plans to change that.
“My everyday focus is to drive crime down across the District of Columbia,” she said. “One of the first things I do is always look at the data, I try and analyze exactly what’s happening in particular areas across the District of Columbia. I meet with my team to make sure we are providing and putting resources in places where they need to be.”
Under her leadership, Smith said officers will be more visible walking their beats.
She also said redistricting is a possibility to ensure resources are where they need to be across the city.
When it comes to addressing juvenile crime, Smith wants to engage with youth earlier.
“One of the things I want to do is not wait until we have 15 or so deaths with juveniles, but to start working with our young people, working with our young people in our elementary schools, to really help support them,” said the Chief.
Smith plans to launch “blue table talks” where she and other influential leaders connect and talk with at-risk juveniles. She is also relaunching the Chief’s Youth Advisory Council.
Chief Smith said she is being intentional in terms of recruiting.
MPD currently has a force of 3,341 officers. Over the last several months more than 60 new officers have been hired.