Pa. State Police SUV

Pa. State Police SUV (Pa. State Police Facebook Page)

For the first time in the Pennsylvania State Police’s 116-year history, a Black woman has attained the rank of deputy commissioner.

Lt. Col. Kristal Turner-Childs, who has served as a member of the Pennsylvania State Police since 1998, will serve as the deputy commissioner of staff for the state police and assist the commissioner in developing policies and procedures for the state’s law enforcement officers, Gov. Tom Wolf announced in a statement Tuesday.

“My mentality has always been to help and serve the department and the diverse communities of the commonwealth,” Turner-Childs said in a statement. “I am honored to be the first African-American Deputy Commissioner of Staff and hope the appointment inspires others to pursue their passions.”

In 2015, Turner-Childs made history as the first Black woman to command a state police troop when she was promoted to captain of Troop L in Reading, Pa.

Turner-Childs also previously served as the director of the Bureau of Forensic Sciences where she became the second Black woman to obtain the rank of major in 2018.

“Lieutenant Colonel Turner-Childs has worked her way up through the ranks and served the state police with valor for more than 20 years,” Wolf said. “Her exemplary service and commitment to protecting the public makes her extremely qualified for this leadership role. My administration is committed to ensuring that our workforce is reflective of Pennsylvania’s diverse population and I’m thankful for the lieutenant colonel’s passion for helping all Pennsylvanians throughout her career.”

Cassie Miller is Associate Editor of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this article first appeared.

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