Washington, DC -- The oldest, largest and most prestigious organization of police chiefs has joined law enforcement rank and file organizations calling for the reinstatement of U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers, according to letters released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
The International Association of Chiefs of Police has written to Interior Secretary Gale Norton citing the "tremendous respect among her peers" that Chief Chambers enjoys and requesting that "consideration be given to allowing this proven, outstanding performer" to remain. In addition, Washington, D.C Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey who worked closely with Chief Chambers on a range of local enforcement issues, has spoken out on her behalf:
"All I know is Teresa Chambers is one hell of a police chief ... I think it's a huge mistake if they get rid of her. She has a lot to offer in this region."
Significantly, organizations representing both current park police officers (Fraternal Order of Police, District of Columbia Lodge #1) and retired officers (Retired United States Park Police Association) have both come out in support of Chief Chambers.
"Those people who know her best, who have worked both with her and for her, give Chief Teresa Chambers a ringing vote of confidence," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "These organizations are taking action because the Chambers case has come to symbolize a fight for integrity in law enforcement."
Chief Chambers is facing possible termination as a result of allegations lodged by Park Service Deputy Director Donald Murphy. Murphy has also placed Chief Chambers on administrative leave, stripped her of law enforcement credentials and imposed a "gag order" barring her from granting any interviews. The U.S. Department of Interior, the parent organization for the Park Service, is now determining Chief Chambers' professional fate.
On both local and national levels, law enforcement support for retaining Chief Chambers extends deeply into rank and file organizations, including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Park Service Ranger Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #60, the National Fraternal Order of Police Grand Lodge, the Fraternal Order of Police, Prince George's County Lodge #89, the Howard County Police Officers Association and the National Latino Officers Association & Labor Council, City of New York. Also registering support for Chief Chambers is the National Center for Women and Policing