Gov. Wolf appoints first black woman as PSP Deputy Commissioner

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Credit: WKBN

HARRISBURG — On Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf confirmed the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Kristal Turner-Childs as deputy commissioner of Staff for the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).

Lt. Colonel Turner-Childs is the first African American woman in the department’s 116-year history to attain the rank.

Turner-Childs is a native of Harrisburg and enlisted in the PSP in February 1998 and was assigned to Troop J, Avondale after graduating from the academy. Turner-Childs would eventually become the first African American woman to command a troop when she was promoted to captain Troop L, Reading in 2015.

In 2018, she served as director of the Bureau of Forensic Sciences as the second African American woman to obtain the rank of major. Turner-Childs also served in various roles at the York and Harrisburg stations and with the PSP Recruitment and Special Services Office.

“Lieutenant Colonel Turner-Childs has worked her way up through the ranks and served the state police with valor for more than 20 years,” Gov. Wolf said. “Her exemplary service and commitment to protecting the public makes her extremely qualified for this leadership role.”

As deputy commissioner of staff, Turner-Childs will assist the commissioner in the development of policies and procedures to maintain efficiency in functional responsibilities and ensure the best use of available resources.

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

Turner-Childs became the first person in her family to earn a college degree when she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Elizabethtown College in 2005 and earned her Master of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership from Central Penn College. She is also a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy.

Turner-Childs has also received numerous awards, including the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC Athena Award, NCBW Trailblazer Award, and the Greater Harrisburg YWCA Woman of Excellence Award.

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