By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Lots of hugs, laughter and tears were shared as Sgt. Jennifer Newell, her family, friends, coworkers and agencies and organizations from across the city came to celebrate her 21-year career as a Norman police officer.
A retirement reception was hosted Thursday for Newell in the city complex. Whether it was someone providing a detailed account of Newell’s involvement in the community, her sassy personality, strong pillars of ethics and moral values or apparently her love of mayonnaise, it was obvious she is someone who will be deeply missed.
Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey said events like this are bittersweet, but it’s the start of a new beginning for “Jen,” as he likes to call her.
“It’s the start of a new beginning for her, but I’ll tell ya it’s gonna really, really hit our department, our city very hard when she’s gone. Jennifer is a very, very well-respected, well-liked part of this community — not just the police department, this community,” Humphrey said.
She is also someone known for her passion and fight.
“If you were to look up the word ‘passionate’ in the dictionary, I swear you would see Jennifer’s picture. If you look up the words ‘smart mouth’ and ‘sassy,’ you would also find her picture, so we’ll just leave it at passionate,” Humphrey said while the crowd erupted with laughter and someone yelled out, “Not my sister, that’s not her.”
More jokes, laughs and stories about Newell were told throughout the afternoon, but the message relayed by all remained the same. Newell was great at what she did, and while no one wants to see her go, they know she’ll do a great job as she takes on a new challenge and a new career.
Newell’s last official day is Nov. 30. She will begin working for the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security on Dec. 2. Newell was hired as program manager for the Oklahoma School Security Institute.
The position was created by the state legislature during the last session, so she’s heading into uncharted waters, but she’s going in armed with her experience as the police department’s community relations and crime prevention officer.
With the state position being brand new, there’s not a lot of specified duties, but Newell said she believes her job will be to create relationships between law enforcement and school districts. It will be much like what she has done with the police department and Norman Public Schools but replicated on a statewide level, she said.
Newell assured everyone Thursday that while she’s taking on a new job in a new city, she will remain involved in the Norman community. There are still things she wants to see through its course, including a child seatbelt safety program that she is passionate about, she said.
Norman can rest easy; they haven’t seen the last of Newell.
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