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Portsmouth’s police chief makes history

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PORTSMOUTH, OH (WOWK) – It’s an historic day in Portsmouth, as the city’s first female police chief is sworn in to her new role.

Captain Debby Brewer was sworn in this morning, June 29, 2020, as Portsmouth’s newest police chief during a promotional and hiring ceremony. She has been with the Portsmouth Police Department for more than 27 years, beginning in January 1993. She has a total of 31 years of law enforcement experience.

Chief Brewer is a graduate of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police Association as a Certified Law Enforcement Executive. She says she always dreamed of becoming chief.

“When I was in high school, I never dreamed I would be doing this,” Brewer said. Not only did she not dream it, she was told it would probably never happen. That’s something she heard before she became a Portsmouth police officer, and something she still hears today, all because she’s a woman.

“I guess I just have to show them that I can,” Brewer said with a gracious smile, knowing she begins a new chapter as she is now the city’s first female police chief.

Chief Brewer now joins an exclusive club of women in power in the Tri-State, including Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader and Ironton Police Chief Pam Wagner.

“In the 1940s or 1950s, I wouldn’t even be considered for this job,” Chief Wagner said, who has been service as Ironton’s police chief since 2017. Chief Wagner says being a police officer is a challenge, and being a woman police officer is a different challenge.

“It’s not a challenge that Chief Brewer cannot meet,” said Chief Wagner. “I know Debby to be nothing short of having the utmost integrity.”

Chief Brewer is actually the second female office that was hired in the city’s history. Today, she’s one of five women on the police force. Brewer understands the importance of what this moment means. She knows little girls will look up to her, and she has some words for them.

“You can do anything you set your mind to,” Chief Brewer said. “You just have to keep striving towards that. Don’t ever stop.”

The new chief says she’s just another Scioto County resident that puts on her pants every morning like everyone else. However, there’s no denying he’s also a resident who is making history in the Tri-State, shattering the “brass” ceiling, and living proof that dreams do come true.

During the ceremony, Chief Brewer received a Special Congressional Recognition from Congressman Brad R. Wenstrup.

Brewer was one of four police officers promoted. The City of Portsmouth also hired a new patrol officer.

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