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Public Safety Hires Officer Tessa Smithwick

Butler's First Female Officer
Published: Friday, May 15th, 2015

The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center held graduation ceremonies for the 233rd Basic Training Class in early April at their Hutchinson academy.

 The Hutchinson center is a division of University of Kansas Continuing Education.

Among the nearly 50 graduates was Tessa Smithwick of El Dorado. With her graduation, Smithwick became the first sworn female officer for Butler Community College’s Department of Public Safety, a fully commissioned police agency.

“I love my career here at Butler,” said Smithwick. “Being a law enforcement officer brings many unique challenges and experiences I would not receive elsewhere. As far as being the only female officer, I never thought about it. The public safety team has always been supportive of each other, and we all work toward the common goal of maintaining the safety of our students, guests, staff, and campus.”  

The April ceremony featured the Honorable Lawton Nuss, Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court as the keynote speaker, who concentrated on the importance of ethics and integrity to the rookie officers and guests present.

“With the benefit of additional, structured academy training, Tessa has quickly gained a new and diverse skillset that will serve Butler well,” said James Bryan, Butler’s Chief of Police. “She now possesses greater situational awareness, as well as an appetite for interviewing and collecting evidence.”

Smithwick has served as a public safety officer for Butler since 2012. When an opportunity developed for entry into the training academy, she completed a battery of testing including psychological, medical, aptitude, and an expanded background investigation to be approved for admittance by the Commission for Peace Officer Standards and Training, a state agency that oversees the suitability of individuals to serve as police officers.

 “The Butler family is very proud to have Tessa on-board, and shares my congratulations for her accomplishments. In this difficult time for law enforcement, we are blessed to have a great qualified officer join our public safety work unit, and certainly pleased to have a female officer on the team.”

Tessa Smithwick (center) of El Dorado was congratulated by Chief James T. Bryan, director of Public Safety for Butler Community College (left), and Bill Rinkenbaugh, vice president of Student Services (right), following her graduation from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in April.