First female Park Police chief announces retirement

United States Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers, Thursday, March 22, 2012, in Washington. Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP

The first ever female leader of the U.S. Park Police, Chief Teresa Chambers, announced her retirement Thursday effective on the date of her 35th anniversary as a sworn police officer.

"It is time for me to accept new challenges," read a statement from Chambers, one of the longest tenured Park Police chiefs, in charge of approximately 600 officers. "It was important that I leave on my terms and at a time of my choosing."

She was sworn in as a police officer on Dec. 5, 1978.

Chambers' tenure as chief, which began in 2002, was interrupted on Dec. 5, 2003, after she confirmed to The Washington Post information the newspaper already had regarding low staffing levels.

Her supervisors ordered her stripped of her badge, gun, and police authority -- a move that triggered a legal battle that culminated in her being restored as chief.

"December 5th had always been an important and happy anniversary during the first 25 years of my career," Chambers said, according to the news release.

"That changed in 2003; but this year, when I proudly step away from my police career and into retirement, December 5th will once again be a day of positive reflection and joy."