U.S. Park Police Asst. Chief Parker T. Hill has been appointed chief of the 660-member Park Police force, succeeding Chief Jerry L. Wells, who retired in September.
An 18-year veteran of the force, Hill was selected from more than 200 candidates seeking the $47,500-a-year job. He is the second black to head the force, which is responsible for patrolling the more than 50,000 acres of National Park Service lands, monuments, memorials and parkways in the Washington area.
Grant Wright, the first black Park Police chief, headed the force from 1968 to 1973, when he was succeeded by Wells.
Hill's appointment was made by National Capital Parks Regional Director Manus J. Fish, who praised Hill for bringing "exceptional leadership, experience and knowledge to the Park Police."
Fish made the appointment following a recommendation by a four-member screening panel that had sifted through potential candidates.
The applicants included a wide assortment of officials from both large and small police departments across the county as well as several high-ranking members of the U.S. Park Police itself.
A new assistant chief to fill Hill's old position is expected to be named in a few weeks.
While the bulk of the Park Police force is concentrated here, small detachments are assigned to the Gateway National Recreational Area in New York and New Jersey and the Golden Gate National Recreational Area in San Francisco. One senior Park Police officer is also assigned to each of the eight National Park Service regional headquarters outside the Washington area.
Hill, 42, joined the Park Police in 1961 and has worked as a patrolman, a records and communications branch administrator and a field supervisor in the planning unit. He commanded the patrol branch for a period, then from 1975 to 1977, served as deputy chief of operations, directing police functions for the Bicentennial and the presidential inaugural.
He became assistant chief, or number two man on the force, in April 1978. A zealous jogger and natty dresser, Hill was born in Washington, earned a degree in psychology from Howard University and later as a police officer graduated from the FBI Academy.
Hill lives in Silver Spring with his wife and children.