The following article includes an interview with Lieutenant June Murphy.  Lt. Murphy joined the BrooklinePD in 1984.  In 2000, she became the first female promoted to the rank of sergeant and later became the department’s first female lieutenant in 2003. Lt. Murphy was one of the founders of the Massachusetts Association of Women in Law Enforcement, serving as president for several terms. Lt. Murphy was dedicated to helping women achieve success in law enforcement. On May 12, Lt. Murphy died suddenly, leaving behind two daughters.  June will be missed by her family, friends, her department and everyone who came in contact with her. It was a pleasure and an honor for us to work with her on this article, which highlights one of the many BrooklinePD initiatives June helped spearhead.

Graham Horowitz read an email on a smartphone belonging to his mother, Dr. Serene Srouji, “I would like to congratulate your son Graham as the winner of the Brookline Police Department first annual Chief for a Day Essay Contest.” He couldn’t believe the news.

“He immediately jumped up and down, did a fist pump, and had a huge smile on his face,” Srouji exclaimed.

On April 4, the BrooklinePD announced a 500-word essay contest for Brookline 5th graders. Contestants had to answer the question: “If I were a Police Chief for a Day, what would I do to make Brookline safer?” The essay contest was spearheaded by Lt. June Murphy.

“We are so pleased that it drew this much attention,” said Lt. Murphy. “These young students came up with great ideas on how to make Brookline safer.”

Submissions started trickling in on April 11, and then 60 essays were submitted within two days of the deadline. The department received more than 80 essays.

As the winner of the essay contest, Graham will spend a fun, educational day at the Brookline Police Station as the Police Chief for a Day.

“The purpose of the event is to expose children to law enforcement in a positive way by letting them see what it’s like to be to the various positions within a police agency, said Lt. Murphy. “This enables them to see that there are many ways to be a part of policing. By placing them in the chief’s position, they’re encouraged to aspire to one day be a leader and even chief within this field.”

Lt. Murphy brought together a selection committee to read the essays, select the winner, and then notify parents, the child, and his or her school.

The Police Chief for a Day Committee consists of Committee Chair Officer Dana Inchierca, Officer Rafaela Carlisle-Swedberg, Officer Kaitlin Conneely, Officer Brian Gallagher, Officer Brian Sheehy, and Officer Armard Forbes.

Each essay had to include three ideas on how to make Brookline a safer and better place to live, work and go to school. To start the selection process, each officer on the committee picked their two favorites, and from there they voted down to whatever the majority chose.

“There were 80 essays, some good ones and it was really hard to just come down to one,” said Officer Inchierca.

The Brookline Police Department received so many submissions near the deadline that the announcement of winners was postponed, giving the committee more time to give each essay equal attention. This caused Horowitz to become more anxious.

“I just wanted to know who won,” he said.

He couldn’t stand waiting and asked his parents every day if they received news in their email from the police department.

In his essay, Horowitz gave three examples of how he’d make Brookline better and safer. He suggested more police monitoring of drivers who text and drive to bring safety to drivers. He suggested more monitoring of pedestrians and at public parks during after-school hours to discourage bullying on the playground and kidnapping. Also, Horowitz would like to have a “see something, say something “ rule where people are encouraged to notify officers if they see any wrongdoing in town.

“It’s fun to write about what you think helps the community to make it safe for everyone,” he said.

It took Horowitz two weeks to write the essay. He gave thought for a long time on how Brookline could be safer. Horowitz feels Brookline is already a safe place to live. He said that “I love living here with my family.” Horowitz lives with his parents and two brothers.

“We really love living in Brookline,” Srouji said. “We feel lucky every day when we walk to school, and there’s a crossing guard and police officers that they know and see. We really appreciate our community here.”

Even though the department took electronic submissions, Horowitz hand-delivered the essay at the police station on his way to school one morning.

Horowitz was shocked when he found out he won. “I got really excited,” he said. “I was pretty surprised and proud of myself for winning the essay contest.” The news spread fast, all Horowitz’s relatives texted him congratulations.

“My grandma even texted me this whole long speech,” he said.

On Horowitz’s day as police chief day, he will have a police uniform, a ceremony swearing him in as chief, and he’ll attend a luncheon where he will be the guest of honor.

“We want to make it memorable for him. We want it to be a day that sticks in his head forever,” said Officer Inchierca.

Horowitz has not thought of whether he’ll become a police officer when he grows up, but he appears to be open to it.

“I have not really planned my life yet, so I don’t really know, but it would be a pretty cool job to have,” he said.

By Vekonda Luangaphay