She became interested in being a police officer while she was working as an administrative clerk in a warrant task force for Cleveland County. Working with several different law enforcement agencies, it began to pique her interest, she said.
At the time, she had been accepted into law school at the University of Oklahoma but had been working so much between school and work, she became exhausted.
“The thought of working one job was like a miracle,” Newell said. “I’ve always been interested in the law but didn’t know where that was going, what that was going to look like in the end.”
When she joined the department in 1992, she thought all she ever wanted to do was patrol work. That’s what she was getting hired to do, and that’s all she thought she was ever going to do.
“I think most officers don’t know what all is available within the police department,” she said. “There’s so much more than just patrol officers that make up the police department.”
In 1996, she was encouraged by Sgt. Doug McKenzie to apply for the position she is in now and will soon be leaving.
Newell said she always enjoyed working with children and talking to adults, but she never imagined it would turn into the rest of her career.
“I just remember sliding in and going, ‘This is really cool,’” she said. “And nobody was in this position to train me. It was empty.”
Talking to Phil Cotten, the police chief at that time, she remembers asking what he wanted her to do. His advice was to get involved in the community, she said, which is what she did and what she will most likely continue to do on an educational level in her new job.
Newell said when she announced her retirement, she received emails saying, “I do not give you permission to retire until my child/grandchild goes through Safety Town with you.” Many people are sad to see her go.