Women hold top 2 spots in Newark Police Department

Toni Yates with the story from Newark, NJ.
March 14, 2014 3:17:33 PM PDT
Two women are now holding the top two spots in the Newark Police Department.

From Henry Whitney in 1857 it took 154 years before Sheilah Coley became the first female chief, with plenty of mustaches in between. The wall of fame for police director was the same until now.

The two women make history leading the department.

"It's a shame it's 2014 and we're still having to break the glass ceiling," said Sheilah Coley, Newark Police Director.

Director Coley began as a patrol officer in 1989, garnering one promotion after another, as did Chief Roman, who began in 1995, working in districts that saw big improvements.

"It was only through the partnership with the community, and officers having the right information regarding hot spots that we were able to reduce crime," said Chief Ivonne Valentin Roman, Newark Police Department.

The department is 988 officers strong in a city that had its challenges with high crime rates. Now they have two new leaders with new ideas.

That starts with a more nurturing approach, the director said.

"I think a male approach is more like a strike force or you know, an initiative, and that works for a while, but we need something that's going to be long-term, something that's going to be institutionalized in the partnership between the community and police," Coley said.

The women were sworn in at City Hall, jumped right into adjustments right away.

"I advised the commanders that my first plan of action was to meet with them and see what needs they need met in order to meet the goals of their precinct," Roman said.

They are both admired working mothers who are dedicated officers, history making leaders, in a city they vow to make safer.

"Moving forward, I want them to have a positive interaction with the Newark Police Department," Coley said.

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