CAPE ELIZABETH — The Police Department Tuesday welcomed its first female officer in 15 years.

Officer Tammy Schafran graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 2010 and has since been a campus officer at SUNY Buffalo.

“We are excited and honored to add Officer Schafran into our community,” Chief Paul Fenton said at Schafran’s swearing-in ceremony May 7. “She not only brings with her a wealth of training and knowledge, but also new ideas and concepts that we hope to utilize to improve our already great agency.”

The position opened when Chief Neil Williams retired last December and promotions were made within the ranks, according to Fenton, who rose from the rank of sergeant.

Schafran was one of seven applicants to apply for the position and one of two women. The last female officer left the department in 2003.

“We all bring with us our background and our experiences, but gender is going to play into that as well,” Fenton said. “We’re going to have some cases where someone might prefer a female officer or will be more comfortable, especially in terms of sexual assault or doing trainings with high school girls. Sometimes they want that female perspective.”

Last fall, Officer David Galvan also joined the department as the town’s first School Resource Officer, specifically dedicated to supporting the school system. The department now has a full complement of 14 officers.

Schafran moved to Gorham from upstate New York two weeks ago for the position.

“The lifestyle in Maine brought me to this state,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “I’ve always wanted to find a small town to work for because I grew up in a small town. I just love that intimate feeling with everybody in the community, getting to know people, and having a sense of belonging.”

In addition to her eight years as a university officer, Schafran has specialized knowledge she can bring to the department, Fenton said. She has trained for crime prevention; security audits for buildings and houses; as a firearms instructor, and as an instructor schooled in issues related to domestic violence.

“I was very fortunate,” Fenton said about the officer search process. “Not only do we have a greatly qualified candidate, but on top of that she’s female, which is obviously exciting, and it’s a great opportunity for us to round out our department to be more reflective of the community.”

Tammy Schafran is the first female police officer to be hired in Cape Elizabeth in 15 years. She was sworn in May 7.

Cape Elizabeth police officers with newly sworn Officer Tammy Schafran, center, and Chief Paul Fenton to her right.

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