APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – History was made earlier Tuesday morning as the City of Appleton Police Department swore in its first female chief of police.
A 22-year veteran of the department, Polly Olson assumed the role after serving as assistant chief under Todd Thomas, who announced his retirement.
Despite serving the City of Appleton for so long, Olson said that the chief of police was never really on her radar.
“I didn’t have dreams or aspirations for moving up, certainly to this role,” explained Olson. “Leadership, I think, but maybe not thinking about this role.”
Becoming the first woman in Appleton’s rich history to be named chief of police is an extraordinary deal for her. After all, Olson was born and raised in the Fox Cities.
“Being the chief here, and being from here, growing up here, my family, three generations plus, have been from the community and are still here,” said Olson. “I feel those strong ties and such love for this community.”
She’s hoping that her message that anything is possible will ring true to people in the area, regardless of age.
“I’m glad that now I can hopefully be that person for other women as I get into this profession and be here to say that this is something that they, too, can strive for,” added Olson.
Paving the way for the next generation of officers.
“Congratulations, you will be an outstanding chief,” said Todd Thomas, former Chief of Police. “Enjoy every moment, and I’m proud to turn over the badge to you.”