Archive for the ‘Retired’ Category

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the contributors to Women Warriors is Marta Bell. Marta is an ambitious, energetic type, who, even though she has retired, she hasn’t slowed down. She has given me permission to share this email with all of you:

Good evening John,
Just wanted to share some great news with you.  As of June 29, 2012 I officially retired from the Indianapolis Police Department after 29 years of service.
 
Also, I assisted one of our sergeants on the department in writing a Women Empowerment series and we teach from that book in 5 weeks sessions, on depression, domestic violence, substance abuse, bridging the gap with the community and law enforcement etc.
 
And, my own book, One Voice Many Faces, which is part of your Women Warriors series, is now at the editor and on target to be published by October 1st.
 
I am so excited as this will be my first book….and I know you know that feeling, so I can’t wait to experience it.
 
Thanks and blessings.
Marta.
Official seal of City of Newark

Official seal of City of Newark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your name and department/agency?

Captain Donna Roman Hernandez (retired) – Caldwell Police Department

Caldwell, New Jersey

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

I was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey and served with both the Essex County and Caldwell Police Departments during my 28-year law enforcement career.  I graduated from Rutgers University College-Newark Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in criminal justice.  I am a Domestic Violence Police Specialist and Trainer.  My father was an Essex County Constable – peace officer and our family suffered more than 30 years of domestic violence abuse at his hands.   Post retirement I am an award-winning independent filmmaker and the owner of Blue Force Films, a film/video production company specializing in police documentaries, short and feature dramas and law enforcement training videos (www.blueforcefilms.com).  I host a monthly broadband police talk radio show “The Jersey Beat,” (www.thejerseybeat.blogspot.com) and write monthly articles for two New Jersey-based police magazines—New Jersey Cops and NJ Blue Now.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

I entered the law enforcement profession in the early1980’s as a civilian Communications ‘911’ Operator/Dispatcher with the Newark Police Department and knew then it was my calling to help people who were in crisis.  I also wanted to help victims of domestic violence abuse who were suffering in silence like I was.  In the late 1980’s I became a police officer with the Essex County Police Department that was headquartered in Newark—a city I called home.  Unfortunately, my career there came to an abrupt ending in 1990 due to political reasons when more than 200 police officers were furloughed.  Nine months later, I was hired by the Caldwell Police Department where I served 17 years.

What is your present assignment?

In 2007 I retired as a police captain with the Caldwell Police Department.  Then my last assignment was second in command of the Caldwell Police Department and the Patrol Commander.   In addition, I commanded the Domestic Violence Unit, Domestic Violence Response Team and In-Service Training Bureau.  I was the Borough of Caldwell’s Accreditation Manager.

What did you like most about your job?

I loved the diversity of the job and working the road in Patrol; helping people in crisis situations; leading my Police union; the camaraderie I shared with police officers throughout the State; training and mentoring officers; and for the opportunity to know so many nice people and great parents who loved their children and community.  I was a hands-on commander who believed in community policing with a victim-centered approach.  Throughout my 28 years in the Patrol Division, I handled more than 300 incidents of domestic violence and trained more than 400 volunteer members of the Essex County Domestic Violence Response Teams.

What did you like least about your job?

I was the first and only female and minority police officer employed by the Caldwell Police Department and was the first female Caldwell Police PBA union representative.  For many years, I endured a hostile work environment, discriminatory promotional practices and gender-based retaliatory actions from the police chief and several superior officers; and retaliation from the mayor and Borough Council in my official capacity with the police union.  I watched the younger, lesser qualified male officers get promoted ahead of me and consistently was denied training opportunities and assignments.  I disliked the head-butting between our police union and the Borough Council Mayor that occurred each time our union contract expired and new contract negotiations began; and the “good old boys” club that existed within the police department.   In spite of the intimidation, opposition and discouragement I regularly faced on the job, I remained focused on the purpose of my profession and the oath I took to protect and serve.

How did your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

My mother feared for my personal safety but always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

Do you think the consensus is that law enforcement is a man’s job? If so, have you had difficulty being accepted as an equal?

In the 1980’s there was a perception in New Jersey that women were not as capable as men to work in the law enforcement profession.  Women in law enforcement were unrepresented or underrepresented especially in municipal policing and in the New Jersey State Police.  In the late 1980’s I was one of five policewomen hired by the Essex County Police Department in Newark, New Jersey and we joined a police force of more than 200 male police officers.  In addition, this “man’s job” perception existed in the administration of the New Jersey Department of Personnel Civil Service police entrance written and physical performance examinations.   After I failed the New Jersey Civil Service Police physical performance examination for the Newark Police Department in the late 1970s, I legally challenged the physical agility portion of the exam as the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit brought against the City of Newark and the New Jersey Department of Civil Service.  Another case, theUnited States of Americavs. the State ofNew Jerseyand the New Jersey Department of Personnel, was eventually enjoined with my lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of women and other minorities inNew Jerseywho were discriminated against and denied jobs as police officers, prison guards and sheriff’s deputies.  In January of 1994, a settlement was reached and a Consent Decree was signed which ordered the State of New Jersey to pay $7 million dollars in back pay to all who were affected by the discriminatory practices of the New Jersey Department of Personnel/Civil Service. Finally, victory was mine and the equality in employment question has been answered!

What would you like the public to know about your job?

Law enforcement remains a dangerous profession more so since the terrorist attacks upon our Nation on September 11th.  Daily, police officers are on the front lines defending our communities, states and country.  More than 19,000 of our nation’s law enforcement officers’ have made the ultimate sacrifice and their names are engraved on the memorial walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Women and men who are called to serve as law enforcement officers are our nation’s every day heroes.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

Yes, I would.  I know that I positively impacted many lives in the communities where I worked and I left the job with many fond memories. Yes, I experienced some bumps in the road as a female and minority officer. However, I persevered and maintained my dignity and integrity throughout my career. The lawsuit I brought against the State of New Jersey and the City of Newark challenging the administration of the police physical performance entrance examination positively changed the landscape for women and minority police applicants, not only in New Jersey but nationwide. When I defended my rights to employment in law enforcement, I did it not only for myself but also for all women and minorities.  I was a part of an historic legal challenge that helped change an ancient perspective that men and women could not be equals on the job.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I believe that every law enforcement officer’s professionalism can be measured by his or her level of personal integrity.  In our increasingly diverse country, officers must draw upon their multi-faceted experiences and extensive life skills daily to protect themselves, their communities and our homeland.   Now there are greater employment and promotional opportunities for women in law enforcement and more factual, intelligent discussions about the importance of women and equality in law enforcement.

 

Chicago Police Department

Chicago Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your name and department/agency?

Arlene Ajello, Chicago Police Department.

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

I am the mother of a beautiful 23-year-old daughter. My passions, other than being a mother, were my job as a Chicago Police Officer and as an equestrian. I am a native New Yorker who comes from an Italian family—a cop family. I worked on Wall Street for many years until my dream of being a Chicago Police Officer came to fruition.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

I knew from a very young age I wanted to be in law enforcement. My father, an NYPD officer with over 20 years on the job, made an impact on me. His silent duty, honor and loyalty to the job and our family were infectious. I wanted to be just like Dad and make my family proud.

What is your present assignment?

Enjoying retirement.

What did you like most about your job?

Knowing every day I had a chance to make a difference on whomever I came in contact with, the camaraderie of my partners and teams I worked on, the thrill of the hunt,and the satisfaction of knowing I made a difference, even in the smallest of ways. Also, knowing each day was different and challenging was something I was always up for.

What did you like least about your job?

Nothing.

How did your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

Surprisingly, they were disappointed at first. They said a woman didn’t belong slinging a gun. However, they warmed to the idea over time, and my father finally congratulated me and said, “Job well done.”

Do you think the consensus is that law enforcement is a man’s job? If so, did you had difficulty being accepted as an equal?

Yes that is the consensus. At times there were major hurdles to overcome, and at times the women had to prove more than any man on the job did. Often my female counterparts and I felt like we were swimming against the tide of a male dominated world. But for me, I felt it backfired on them. It made me stronger, made me work even harder, and it made me a BETTER officer. I thank those who tried to show me there was a “glass ceiling and double standard” for women. It certainly helped my career, and I was able to pass it along to the younger females coming on the job to better their careers..

What would you like the public to know about your job?

The job is great! When I got in the squad car, I couldn’t believe they paid me for doing something I loved so much.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

OH YES!!!

Is there anything else you would like to add or share?

I would like to thank John M. Wills for giving me this opportunity to share my story in his book. I would like to commend him and thank him for his service and dedication to the job, his family and God. He is truly an inspiration and role model for so many people.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Seal

Federal Bureau of Investigation Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

What is your name and department/agency?

Phyllis MacLean Sciacca – FBI

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

I was born and raised in Mineola, NY (Long Island).  My father worked for Eastern Airlines, so I started traveling at an early age and love to go places (I have traveled to all the continents).  I went to Stetson University, a small Baptist college in DeLand, Florida, and majored in accounting.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

J. Edgar Hoover had just died, and the FBI hired their first female agent the week before I graduated from college.  I read an article in the Style section of a local paper and decided that was the job for me.  Up until then law enforcement had never crossed my mind.  The only two jobs I applied for were flight attendant and FBI agent. I got turned down for the job of flight attendant – go figure.

What is your present assignment?

Retired.

What did you like most about your job?

I loved every day of my job.  I went into work with a plan for the day and many days that plan fell by the wayside as a new case came my way.  No two days were ever the same.  When you ask most people about their job they say “same old, same old.”  You can never say that about the FBI.

What did you like least about your job?

The only problem with the job concerned the family/friend events that had to be missed because of a new case.

How did your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

My husband was also an FBI agent which made things a lot simpler at home.  When a call would come late at night and I’d put on my gun to go out the door, he never complained.  He knew the routine.  If the call wasn’t for me it was probably for him.  I don’t know how people with small children do it.

Do you think the consensus is that law enforcement is a man’s job? If so, have you had difficulty being accepted as an equal?

Most people when they are scared or afraid are comforted when a big strong man comes to their aid.  After a brief let down they realize a woman is sometimes more sympathetic to their situation.  I initially had difficulty being accepted by my colleagues who were my own age.  The older the agent was, the more accepting they were of female agents.  I have always said that you don’t need to be big and strong to do this job.  You just have to have an attitude.  As my husband will tell you…I have an attitude!

What would you like the public to know about your job?

Someone once said that a hero is just someone who was too afraid to run away.  Being in law enforcement is sort of like that.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

Absolutely!

Is there anything additional you’d like to share?

Always be a live wire and you‘ll never get stepped on!