CARMEL – Lifelong Putnam County resident and 1994 graduate of Carmel High School Tara Flynn joined the Kent Police Department 20 years ago and now has been appointed as the first female police lieutenant in Putnam County.
Flynn reflected that her entire life has centered on “helping others.”
After high school graduation she earned an Associate’s Degree at Dutchess Community College.
The military was Flynn’s next chapter in life but when she aggravated a previous injury, she had to resign.
Still with a desire to serve the law enforcement community, Flynn took a civil service test and began her career on July 21, 1999 with the Kent Police Department. After serving for 12 years as an officer, in 2011, Flynn was elevated to the rank of sergeant.
Kent Police Chief Kevin Owens recently recommended Flynn to the Kent Town Board for the vacant lieutenant’s position.
Owens described Flynn as an “outstanding police officer who is always looking out for the community as well as the other members of our department. As Tara has risen through the ranks, her desire to keep our community safe while protecting the officers of the department has become most evident. I welcome her on board as my righthand person.”
Flynn has experienced much joy as well as sadness during her 20-year career on the force but one case stands out that she will never forget.
Officers were summoned to a domestic violence complaint and found a female victim critically injured. She had been intentionally run over by her companion in a local tavern parking lot.
“The woman was a mess suffering from severe trauma,” Flynn said. “We didn’t think she would be able to survive her injuries but miraculously she did and her companion was convicted and sent to state prison.”
Officials said back then due to the rapid response of the officers and the care she received, the woman survived.
The police department even received a special domestic violence award from Putnam County.
The Kent PD consisting of 19 officers and five dispatchers is primarily comprised of younger officers. Does Lt. Flynn have any advice to members of the law enforcement community?
“I encourage all officers to ‘watch your back’ as well as ‘each other’s back.’ Safety is the number one priority. Officers must also keep up with their training while acting professionally and keeping their integrity. We are here to help others in need.”
Flynn also reminded her comrades in blue to “take care” of themselves: “An officer’s individual wellness is critically important insofar as both physical health as well as mental health. For years the issue of mental health has been pushed aside in the fields of law enforcement and the military. In today’s sometimes troubled and complex world, it is being brought to light which is so important. An officer cannot help another in need if that member of law enforcement is a mess inside.”
Flynn and her husband Brad realize the sacrifices made by members of the law enforcement community by working weekends, holidays and around-the-clock shifts.
Flynn said “during the past 20 years, I have sacrificed a lot by missing family functions and get-togethers but the pay off has been well worth it knowing that I was here to help others.”
Lt. Flynn described herself as a “pioneer” by becoming the first female lieutenant on a police force in Putnam County: “I encourage others to strive as well and join the ranks. Nothing is more rewarding than serving one’s community as an officer of the law.”