**FILE** MPD Chief Pamela A. Smith and the Bowser administration are part of nationwide efforts to recruit more women as law enforcement officers. (WI photo)
**FILE** MPD Chief Pamela A. Smith (WI photo)

The courtyard of the ߲ݴý National Cathedral was lined Friday with quilt images of children who were gunned down around the country for National Gun Violence Awareness, and inside the place of worship, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Pamela Smith preached a special sermon to remember the fallen youth and combat continued challenges. 

In July 2023, Mayor Muriel Bowser selected Smith as chief of police, and she was confirmed in November. However, law enforcement isn’t Smith’s only passion. Her faith foundation has always been critical to her work. 

Even with more than two decades of law enforcement experience, including degrees and certificates from the , the , and the , Smith’s ordination as a Baptist preacher is what is helping her most in the war against crime.

Since being confirmed, she has rallied the faith community around her crime-fighting efforts.

“After 26 years in law enforcement, this gun violence is different; we have a call to action,” Smith told the congregation during her stirring sermon in Bethlehem Chapel. “I am a member of this community. What can we do? I’m glad you asked. We must be more intentional. We are losing 118 lives each month (across the country). We have to speak up. We have the power, and we have the responsibility to be the agent of change.”

A major focus of her sermon was faith. 

Smith recalled her devastation when learning her mother was dying and how she leaned on God to see her through.

“I remember being taken to the airport; I have to go see about my mother, I have to go see about my children … I have to go see about my niece,” preached Smith. “I remember the pain; I kept saying my hope is built. … I  said, ‘God, I know you are going to do something in this space because I had a relationship with him.’”  

The MPD chief emphasized how faith in God can lead people through storms.

“I am a firm believer that we can’t do anything without Christ in our life,” said Smith in an interview with The Informer. “We have to go back to the basics of Christianity to drive out this darkness. Light drives out this darkness.”

Since becoming chief, Smith has worked to engage the church community to combat violence. She has organized a network of 125 churches and is warming up with events like prayer vigils and peace walks. 

“People are suffering because of general trauma and health disparities,” she said.

at the ߲ݴý National Cathedral, noted the importance of Smith working with faith communities to combat gun violence, which leads to more than 40,000 deaths throughout the country.

“Everybody has been touched by the violence, and having the chief here is all about coming together,” Hamlin said.

The Rev. Dr. Winston C. Ridley Jr., pastor of the Greater First Baptist Church in Northwest D.C. and a member of the Greater ߲ݴý Council of Churches, noted: “In these critical times, it is important to meet with someone like Chief Smith who has their finger  on the pulse of the community.”

Ridley emphasized the church’s responsibility in working toward peace. 

“It’s prime time for the church to answer the cause of Christ.”

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the ߲ݴý Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the...

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