Acting Head Appointed Park Police Chief

A former North Carolina police officer who followed Teresa Chambers (search) to the U.S. Park Police (search) officially got her old job Monday.

Dwight E. Pettiford (search) is one of two acting chiefs the department has had since Chambers was suspended in December 2003. She got in trouble with superiors after telling reporters she had been forced to cut back on patrols because her officers were required to guard national monuments.

Chambers was officially fired in July — a decision later upheld by an administrative law judge, who ruled that officials of the Interior Department (search), parent agency of the National Park Service, had sufficient grounds.

In February 2002, Chambers became the first woman to lead the U.S. Park Police. She came from Durham, N.C., where she served as police chief. Before that, she spent 21 years as a police officer in Prince George's County, Md.

Pettiford worked his way up through the Durham force before joining Chambers in Washington in 2002.

"He's proven a capable leader who is highly respected by his officers, his peers in other departments and within the National Park Service (search)," Park Service Director Fran Mainella said in a statement.