That’s because she was minutes away from not only becoming an assistant chief of the Camden County Police Department, but the first Latina in Camden City to ever hold that law enforcement title.
“I was born and raised in this city. I’ve always wanted to be a police officer. Yes, I did my application when I was in high school,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Janell Simpson, who was sworn in Friday afternoon at Camden County Police Department.
Rodriguez has been with the department for 20 years.
“Everyone here should be excited today,” Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen said of the progress police are making.
When Simpson was sworn in as Latina’s first deputy chief, she thanked the group of women who stood behind her and also blazed a trail in the Camden County Police Department.
“We’ve never had so many women in leadership positions in the history of this agency,” said Camden County Police Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez.
“We’ve come a long way in 20 years,” Simpson said. “We have many women in our department. The national average is 10%. We are at 20%.”
Simpson wants that number to go even higher. She has also made it her mission to recruit more people from the Camden community to become police officers. It is also important for the new deputy head to continue promoting diversity.
“It’s very, very important to be diverse and to understand the community and the culture,” Simpson said, still marveling at her accomplishment.
“Twenty years ago, no. I never thought of becoming an assistant director. But over the years I’ve thought, ‘Yeah, I want to make a change and I want to keep moving up the ranks,'” she said.
The busy mother of three thanked her family for their sacrifice and understanding of the many hours it took to achieve her landmark promotion.
“My six-year-old is very proud,” she said. “If anything, she’ll be a police officer.”
Simpson, who previously served as a sergeant with the Special Victims Unit, became in 2017 the second Latina to achieve the rank of lieutenant in Camden County Police Department history. In 2021 she was appointed Captain of the Internal Affairs Unit.
She hopes her story will inspire others who want to achieve their own successes.
“Don’t let anything stop you, and hard work pays off,” she said.
Simpson says she looks forward to working for the ever-evolving Camden County Police Department in her new role.
“We have more plans,” she said. “And I’m just happy about it.”
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved.
https://6abc.com/camden-county-police-janell-simpson-first-latina-deputy-chief-new-jersey/12054171/ Janell Simpson named Camden County Police Department’s first-ever Latina deputy chief