I loved my time at Bridgewater State, everything about my whole college experience was incredible. It was the perfect opportunity for me. Bridgewater offered a safety net away from home, I felt supported and safe to be successful.
When looking at colleges, Patty Fisher, ’97, knew she wanted to find a place that mimicked her tight-knit Newburyport community.
“When I came to campus to visit, Bridgewater reminded me of my hometown,” she said. “Each of the staff members we met on the tour were engaging. The interactions we had with faculty felt supportive.”
That feeling of being part of a community has followed Fisher throughout her career.
This past December the Bridgewater State University alumna was sworn in to serve as the chief of police for the town of Newbury.
“I feel great about serving this community. It’s a small town, so you really have the opportunity to become part of the community,” Fisher said. “I’ve held every position within our department, so this is the next progression for me.”
After graduating with a degree in criminology from what was then known as Bridgewater State College, Fisher was hired by the Newbury police department.
One of her first jobs was as a social worker, helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Thanks to a grant, the department was able to hire her to do this important work.
“I had the opportunity to serve with a lot of police officers and got to see firsthand the great work that police officers do and gained a new appreciation for law enforcement,” Fisher said.
When the grant funding ran out, because she did such a stellar job, Fisher was asked to consider joining the police force.
“I took a leap of faith,” she said, “But I had one condition, to start as a street officer.”
Over the years, Fisher steadily worked her way up to the highest rank.
“I’m really grateful the community has embraced the (social work) side of me. With police reform happening, it’s perfect timing for me to be in this position, to have my mindset and skillset,” she said.
And while it’s an honor to be the town’s first female chief of police, Fisher is prouder of the work she’s done to get there.
“At 2a.m. when you have somebody breaking into your house, you don’t care if the responding officer is male or female, you just want the most qualified officers at your house,” she said. “I do, however, appreciate the significance and how it’s great for young girls to see a woman in this type of position.”
Fisher is most excited about serving the town and continuing to strengthen community ties. She praises her colleagues who work tirelessly to make this happen.
“I want to make sure we are reaching everyone in our community, to show them support,” Fisher said. “We want to be a visible resource for people.”
One bit of advice she passes on to current BSU students is to make the most of their time while on campus and to take advantage of all the school offers.
“I loved my time at Bridgewater State, everything about my whole college experience was incredible,” Fisher said. “It was the perfect opportunity for me. Bridgewater offered a safety net away from home, I felt supported and safe to be successful.”
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