Rising up through the ranks


By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Photo courtesy of the city of Grove City
Grove City Division of Police Chief Rick Fambro congratulates Sergeant Brittany Hennessy, who is the city’s first female in that position. Hennessy was sworn-in on March 6 by Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage at the city council meeting.

Brittany Hennessy has worn many hats in her law enforcement career with the Grove City Division of Police. She has been a defensive tactics instructor, a crisis negotiator, a traffic crash reconstructionist, a physical fitness instructor, a field training officer, and a bike patrol member. Now, she takes on a new role as sergeant, and she is the first woman to hold that title.

“I’m honored that Police Chief (Rick) Fambro selected me to be the first female sergeant in the division’s history. This is a huge responsibility, and I will not take it lightly,” said Hennessy.

Hennessy joined the city’s police department in 2011 after obtaining a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Ashland University. She grew up near Mansfield, Ohio where she watched her father move up through the ranks in a police department, eventually becoming a police chief.

“I loved hearing his stories,” said Hennessy. “I just wanted to help people like he did.”

Not only was her father in the law enforcement field, but her husband is also a police officer with the city of Columbus.

Hennessy said as she was nearing the end of her time in college, she applied to police agencies all over the place. She said in 2010/2011, it was a difficult field to break into as the job was more in-demand. She traveled down to the Columbus area for the Ohio State Fair and decided to stop by the Grove City police office to fill out a job application.

“They were the first to reach out,” said Hennessy.

Once she got the job, Hennessy knew she wanted to move up the ranks.

“I wanted to be a leader,” she said.

Prior to her promotion to sergeant, Hennessy said she was a field training officer, which she describes as a “coach.”

“You get to pass along your knowledge to younger officers. It’s nice to have that influence.”

Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field comes with its challenges. The biggest challenge, according to Hennessy, is work and family balance.

Hennessy and her husband have two children under the age of 3. She said they work opposite shifts, so they do not get a lot of family time.

“My career takes me away from family,” said Hennessy. “I want to help people and I want to make a difference. So, I make it work.”

The newly named police sergeant also said being a woman in the field has its advantages.

“Women have an important role in law enforcement,” said Hennessy.

She said having a female officer on the scene is advantageous in many situations, like in domestic violence situations where the woman may feel more comfortable talking to a female officer or anything involving children, where they may look to a women as a comforting figure.

Hennessy also said she mentors younger female officers.

“I think they appreciate having a female as a coach.”

Hennessy may be the first female police sergeant for the Grove City Division of Police, but she hopes she won’t be the last.

“I worked hard for growth opportunities. I did all I could to get here,” she said.

Hennessy said she even took the sergeant exam earlier in her career and did not get a promotion. But she kept at it, kept honing in on her craft.

Her advice for other women – “Work hard and follow your dreams. Don’t let people tell you, you can’t do it.”


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