Update on besieged Park Service Police chief...


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Mike Irwin
December 29, 2003, 02:53 PM
From the Washington Post.


Teresa C. Chambers brought a couple of gag gifts with her to Washington when she left a police department in North Carolina two years ago to become chief of the U.S. Park Police: a can of Raid bug spray that friends said would help her repel the infamous swarms of Beltway reporters, and a package of pain medicine described as a remedy for federal headaches.




The gifts haven't worked at all, and those who know Chambers say it's partly because of two other things she brought with her from her tenure at the Durham Police Department -- a plainspoken manner and a powerful impulse to identify with rank-and-file officers.

The National Park Service put her on leave and moved to fire her after she went public this month with her concerns about money and staffing. Now, a 27-year police career floats in limbo, and those who worked under Chambers at departments in Durham and Prince George's County say they -- and Chambers herself -- are stunned.

Chambers, 46, has rarely left her Prince George's County home since the controversy began, according to friends and family members. She has been ordered by the Park Service to make no more comments, and she declined recent interview requests. But friends and family members said that she feels betrayed by superiors who have done nothing to defend her. She has been spending the holidays composing a formal rebuttal to each of the administrative charges against her, they said.

"There's not a single Christmas gift bought, not a card mailed, not a tree up, not an ornament in the house," said her husband, Jeff. "We're constantly trying to work on defending her on this."

He said that Chambers has drafted a "sentence-by-sentence" rebuttal of the allegations against her but that her lawyers have advised the family not to discuss the details. Officials with the Interior Department, which oversees the Park Service, have also refused to discuss the specific charges.

The Park Service reacted quickly after Chambers told reporters early this month that her force was overstretched and underfunded and that the region's parks and parkways were growing more dangerous as a result. On Dec. 3, the day after her comments made news, Park Service officials said she broke rules barring public comment about ongoing budget discussions and prohibiting lobbying by someone in her position. Officials ordered her to temporarily stop talking with the media....


Full article here -- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37092-2003Dec28.html

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