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Reinstated Park Police Chief: Decision Will Have 'Far-Reaching Impacts'

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A former U.S. Park Police chief, fired more than six years ago after complaining about her department, could be back at work as early as February.

Teresa Chambers, who is now chief of the Riverdale, Md., Police Department, was fired after publicly complaining about staffing at the U.S. Park Police. Chambers said the agency lacked enough officers to protect national park land. She also said that unarmed guards protected some national monuments.

Following those comments, she was suspended and later terminated by the Department of the Interior. Citing weak evidence, the Merit Systems Protection Board ordered Park Police to reinstate Chambers within 20 days. Chambers says she was stunned by the decision.

"Overwhelmingly greatful that the Merit Systems Protection Board made the right decision, but it's still taking a while to sink in after so many years," she says.

Chamber says the board's decision sends an important message that federal employees can't be terminated for telling the truth.

"I know that this will have far-reaching impacts in a positive way for many federal employees who have found themselves in similar situations and yet their stories weren't as public because their positons were not as public," she says.

Chambers will earn more than six years of back pay. It's unclear whether the Interior Department will appeal the decision.


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