Washington, DC -- The National Center for Women and Policing has bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on United States Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers. The award comes more than one month after the Department of Interior began reviewing Chief Chambers' response to allegations lodged by Assistant Park Director Don Murphy concerning media and congressional contacts, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
The award is given to Chief Chambers in recognition of her outstanding leadership over a twenty-eight year law enforcement career. Chief Chambers is the first female of US Park Police, the oldest uniformed federal police force. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Park Police is responsible for protecting national parks, monuments, and parkways in the Washington, DC, San Francisco, New York City and other key sites across the country.
The Lifetime Achievement Award also highlights Chief Chambers' tenure as the Chief of Police of the Durham, North Carolina Police Department, where she was credited with significantly reducing crime while improving morale and staff retention. Chief Chambers received her bachelor's degree in law enforcement/criminology from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in applied behavioral science with a concentration in community development from the Johns Hopkins University. She is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the FBI's prestigious National Executive Institute.
Sworn in as the Chief of the United States Park Police in February of 2002, Chief Chambers is currently on paid administrative leave for reporting low-staffing levels in a December 2, 2003 Washington Post article. Later that same day and within hours of her filing a formal, written complaint against her supervisor, Don Murphy, Chambers was barred from speaking further to the press. Three days later, that same supervisor stripped Chambers of her badge and gun in an unprecedented setting and sent her home. After refusing to agree to a permanent gag order, on December 18, Murphy filed a notice of proposed termination alleging a mixture of old allegations mixed with her recent press and congressional communications.
"Chief Chambers is being honored for achievement in law enforcement while her law enforcement credentials and badge gather dust in a desk drawer," stated PEER Communication and Outreach Director Chas Offutt whose organization has helped rally support for Chief Chambers. "This award recognizes that Chief Chambers is one of our best and brightest but, ironically, it is bestowed while she remains under a virtual house arrest."
The National Center for Women and Policing also grows a growing list of organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Park Service Ranger FOP, and Prince George's Hispanic Republican Club, who have come out in support of Chief Chambers.
Chief Chambers will formally accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on April 28, 2004, in Boca Raton, FL, during the 9th Annual Leadership Conference--along with awardees, Deputy Chief Laura Goodman, Brooklyn Center Police Department, Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, Detroit Police Department, and Chief Heather Fong, San Francisco Police Department.