First African American female, a Harrisburg native, appointed to deputy commissioner for PSP


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Lieutenant Colonel Kristal Turner-Childs was appointed as deputy commissioner of Staff for the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) on Tuesday, Oct. 12. She is the first African American woman in the department’s 116-year history to attain the rank, according to the press release.

Prior to her official appointment, she was also the first African American woman to be acting deputy commissioner.

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Turner-Childs, a Harrisburg native, has had a long and impressive journey. It all started with her enlistment in the PSP in February 1998. She was eventually promoted to captain in 2015, which made her the first African American female to command a troop in Pennsylvania.

She really is a woman of firsts and it all began back when she became the first person in her family to earn a college degree when she graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2005.

Turner-Childs also graduated with a Master of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership from Central Penn College. To top her educational career off, she is also a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy.

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

Turner-Childs says she sees every day as an opportunity to help someone else, according to the press release.

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

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