First Black Woman to Lead U.S. Park Police to Deliver UAPB Commencement Address

The ceremony will be livestreamed and COVID-19 protocols will be in place for in-person guests.

Pamela A. Smith, chief of police of the United States Park Police
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will host its 164th commencement ceremony Dec. 10 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Pamela A. Smith, chief of police of the United States Park Police, will serve as the commencement speaker.

Smith graduated from UAPB in 1992 and is a 23-year veteran of the USPP. She became the first African American woman to lead the 230-year-old agency when she took over the position on Feb. 28, 2021. 

Established in 1791, the USPP is the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. Today, the 560-member workforce serves to protect the public, parks and the nation’s most iconic landmarks in the Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco metropolitan areas, according to the organization’s website.

During her law enforcement career, Smith has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division. She was also the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its major.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in education at UAPB and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. She’s a member of the National Organization of Black Enforcement Executives, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

The processional for Friday’s commencement ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m. The event will be livestreamed via YouTube and on Facebook. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, safety protocols will be implemented for in-person guests. All attendees must wear a mask while inside the Pine Bluff Convention Center and comply with a temperature and security check. Seating will be marked for physical distancing.

More information is available on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s website