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Police & Fire

Bethel Police Department Promotes First Female Officer To Sergeant

Heather Burnes was promoted to sergeant by the Bethel Police Department this fall. Photo Credit: Matt Knickerbocker via Twitter @MSKnickerbocker
Sgt. Heather Burnes, Lt. Michael Libertini and Capt. Steve Pugner pose for a photo with First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker after their promotions. Photo Credit: Matt Knickerbocker via Twitter @MSKnickerbocker

BETHEL, Conn. – It’s not everyday that a female police officer is promoted to sergeant. 

The Bethel Police Department recently promoted Heather Burnes to the rank, which was a first for the town. 

Burnes is a bit of a trailblazer for the department. A total of 15 years ago, Burnes was the first female police officer to join the Bethel force. 

“It is an honor to be the first female to become sergeant as I have always aspired to work my way up. I feel like it’s a piece of history and it’s really a great place to work,” Burnes told the Daily Voice in an interview.

Burnes has proven to be a valuable part of the Bethel Police Department.

She got her start after graduating from Western Connecticut State University’s Justice and Law Administration’s program in 1999. Within a year, Burnes was accepted into the Bethel Police Department, where she started as a patrol officer.

Throughout the years, Burnes has worked as a field training officer and is currently the coordinator for the team. She also served as the school resource officer with Bethel Middle School, Johnson School, and Rockwell School just before her promotion to sergeant. She was also head of the car seat unit, making sure that the town's youngest residents are safe when they travel.

When asked about her future goals,, Burnes said she is looking forward to working with Police Chief Jeffrey Finch to bring the Bethel department to the next level.

“This is an exciting time, and it’s been very interesting overall,” Burnes added about her new position.

Two other police department members were also promoted this fall in Bethel. Steve Pugner was promoted to captain, and Michael Libertini was promoted to lieutenant in the same ceremony.

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