NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 28, 2023) – It was a historic day for the city and its police department.
Officers, city leaders, and residents packed into council chambers earlier this afternoon for the swearing-in ceremony of the department’s first-ever female leader.
Tessa Pohovey is taking over for Mike Goodwin, who’s retiring next Friday after 33 years with the department and the last 10 as its chief. She called her daughter and son up to help remove her captain’s pin and grinned from ear to ear as Goodwin attached a chief’s badge to her uniform.
“It means a lot for me, obviously. It’s not necessarily a position I expected to be in at this point but the opportunity presented itself, and here we are,” she told WJER afterward. “I’m excited just to move forward with the department and see where we can be in the next 10 years.”
She says women are still underrepresented in law enforcement, and it’s unfortunate.
“I think there’s some hesitation as to what you might experience if you become involved in law enforcement, whether that’s police or any other aspect of the criminal justice realm. But I can honestly say in my personal experience I’ve never had any negative feedback or negative encounter just because I’m a woman.”
Pohovey’s grandmother was born in an era when women had far fewer opportunities and came out to cheer her on, too.
“She’s probably the most excited out of anybody. She’s very proud of me.”
Others who officially rose up the ranks today were Dave Morris – who got promoted from sergeant to captain – and Wayne Clark – who went from patrolman to sergeant. They were sworn into their new roles alongside Pohovey and the department’s new police dog – K9 officer Pablo.