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City hires first female full-time officer

4/14/2011 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Monica Harvey, the first female New Franklin Police Department officer, is shown with children at Nolley Elementary School.
Photo courtesy of Nolley Elementary School
NEW FRANKLIN — Monica Harvey doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but others would politely disagree.

Harvey, 37, was hired as New Franklin Police Department’s first full-time officer March 30, after working part-time with the department since September 2009.

A Cuyahoga Falls High School graduate, Harvey has three children and worked in various part-time jobs in restaurants while her children were young.

She graduated from the Summit County Sheriff’s Academy in 2008 and worked at the Summit County Jail part-time until she was laid off.

Harvey, whose husband, Thomas Harvey, is a deputy for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, does community policing for the New Franklin Police Department, which included an anti-bullying program for kindergarteners through second-graders at Nolley Elementary School in New Franklin and a program on seatbelt use for third-graders at Nolley and Grill Elementary School in Norton. She also works on senior watch and neighborhood block programs. She said she especially enjoys working on the Shop With a Cop program.

Currently, she said she is working with the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office on a “sexting” program for middle and high school students.

She also hopes to present “Take 25,” a program on how children can keep themselves safe in various situations, sometime in the future.

Harvey is scheduled to present a talk about scams and safety May 25 at 7 p.m. at New Franklin City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road. The session also will include a question-and-answer period.

Harvey also does patrol work.

Sgt. Jeff Hagen, her partner during a three-month training program, said Harvey “proved herself” in the first few weeks when she confronted “a heavy mentally handicapped person without hesitation” and later found out he had a shotgun behind a door.

She also was forced to wrestle a teen and restrain him, and ended up covered in dog feces, for which she “took a little razzing from guys in the department,” Hagen said.

“She can definitely do the job, and she is a great officer to work with,” he said. “She does what is expected and a little more.”

New Franklin Police Chief Dan Davidson said getting a female police officer in the department was “long overdue.”

“We have needed a female officer to handle female prisoners and rape victims,” he said.

The department had a full-time female police officer for three to fours years in the early 1990s before the city was formed, when it was Franklin Township, as well as a couple of part-time female officers when the department was first formed in the early 1980s, according to Davidson.

“Monica is treated like everyone else, and the guys are handling it well,” said Davidson.

Harvey agreed.

“All the guys have been really nice, very welcoming, and we are like a family,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

She said she has not noticed any different treatment among her fellow police officers, but she has noticed a difference on the streets.

“The general public seems to be nicer, more polite during traffic stops,” said Harvey.

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