The first female police chief for the Eastern Sierra – that point hardly seems relevant after a conversation with Bishop's new and dynamic Police Chief Kathleen Sheehan who retired as a lieutenant with the Los Angeles Police Department, where she worked gang detail and many other aspects of law enforcement. For the last 6 months before moving to Bishop, she trained police officers in Pakistan and other areas of the Mid-East for a private firm. Her considerable experience and obvious enthusiasm have made Sheehan a much-noticed addition to Bishop. She took time to sit down in her office and talk to us.
Question: So, what's it like living in a small town now?
Answer: This is fabulous. This is my new hometown. A few people in Bishop had let me know this, and I'm with them all the way. This is a fabulous place to live.
Q: You have quite a background. You said you have spent time in the Middle East and of course the Los Angeles Police Department.
A: Yes. It was kind of busy there. I lived for approximately the last 6 months in Pakistan. Some short trips to Lebanon. 4 weeks in Palestine and Israel. A little bit of time in Dubai. That was a lot of fun. Beautiful. Some time in Lebanon. The Island of Cypress, and then before that about a year and a half in Indonesia.
Q: What was your experience in the Middle East?
A: Well, you know, really, it's kind of like stepping back into history. Both in terms of the way the people live – you'll find roadways with trucks right next to donkey carts. You'll find many people who still live in tents. There really are Bedouin societies that are people who are entirely migrant in their existences.
Even policing and government are at a pretty basic level by the time you get out of the capitol cities. And, really more than anything what I learned is just how important a solid foundation of safety and security is. Businesses dont thrive, foreign investment doesnt happen unless there is safety and security. So, maybe its egotistical, but I have a new and improved view of just how important policing is.
Q: What were you doing in the Mid-East?
A: Training police officers in everything from professional standards to surveillance, money laundering, anti-terrorist sort of activities.
Q: Speaking of security, we tend to feel pretty secure here, relative to the rest of the world; but obviously news headlines tell us that things are kind of dangerous around the world. How does that affect us here, do you think?
A: Well, on a very personal level for me, its been almost a view into how bad things could get. So, therefore, a reminder to take all the steps we need to prepare for emergencies. To handle problems before they become crises. To really pay attention to at-risk youth before we have gangs. So, I think it makes me a little bit of a mother hen, kind of a protective countenance toward my job here at Bishop. I think, by the way, youre very well equipped. Weve got some police officers who are really courageous, they work hard and they care.
The only change or addition Id like to make at all is to bring them closer to the community so that we have better communication and we work on the problems together. We get pro-active on the problems together.
More from Chief Sheehan later in the week.