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Inspector Jennifer Fila: Climbing the Law Enforcement Ladder

April 27, 2009

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Women of the University Police Department

Inspector Jennifer Fila (left) serves as the highest-ranking woman in UAlbany's University Police Department. (Photo Neil Colligan)

Unlike some of her colleagues in the University Police Department, Inspector Jennifer Fila never expected a career in law enforcement.  But in the Department, she's certainly finding her niche as a positive role model for students.

"The opportunity to make a difference in young people's lives, that's the best part about our job," said Fila, a Greene County native. "They're in their formative years, so providing a good experience and being a positive example for them is one of the most gratifying things."

Fila arrived at UAlbany's UPD as an officer in 1999. A year later, she became a certified Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) instructor for women's self defense.

"I was helping victims, teaching women how to protect themselves," said Fila. "It's very empowering for women to know that they can take care of themselves and rewarding to know that I helped them do that."

Despite a full-time work schedule, Fila also pursued higher education. She graduated from Mercy College in 2001 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and received her masterís in public administration from Marist College in 2005.

"Jennifer is the consummate professional. She really cares about people. She is my 'go to' power player," said UPD Chief J. Frank Wiley. "We could not be as good if she were not on this team. We are fortunate to have her."

Fila was promoted to inspector in 2007. As inspector, Fila develops and revises departmental policies; teaches RAD for Women and radKIDS to the University and surrounding communities; coordinates the Operation Safe Corridor initiative, an off-campus crime prevention effort between UAlbany, Albany City and The College of St. Rose. She also directs the Departmentís recruitment efforts, pursues funding through grant writing, and coordinates UPD's community educational videos.

"Historically, there were a lot of walls to break down in male dominated professions like law enforcement," said Fila. "But women have finally realized that they can do the job and there's a place for women in it."

Fila is among six women in UPD's ranks. Her place is currently at the top, serving as the highest ranking woman. It's not something Fila likes to tout, but she is proud of her accomplishments and contributions to the Department.

"On a personal level, it means you know you've achieved a certain level of success," said Fila. "But I'm not through yet. I'm still climbing the ladder."

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