Lakewood Police Department Promotes First Female CaptainDecember 18, 2018
On Friday, December 7th, 2018, Mayor Michael Summers promoted Lieutenant Leslie Wilkins to Captain of the Traffic and Patrol Division of the Lakewood Police Department. Wilkins, a 34-year veteran of the Lakewood Police Department, will be the first Female Captain in the history of the Department.
Captain Wilkins is a Lakewood native and began working as a Dispatcher in the Lakewood Police Department in 1985. She was hired as the first female patrol officer in 19
88. Since that time, her career with LPD has included working as a Field Training Officer, a DARE Officer in the Lakewood City Schools, 10 years in the Detective Bureau, a promotion to Sergeant in 2006 and another promotion to Lieutenant in 2011. She also worked briefly with the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce with the FBI.
On taking the civil service test as a dispatcher in 1998, Captain Wilkins said, “I was just always putting pressure on myself to keep climbing. There were about 500 other people taking the test, and I didn’t know that they would ever hire a female patrol officer.” Since then, Captain Wilkins has continued striving. “I always wanted to better myself. The goal was always to retire promoted, but I just thought it was going to be as a Sergeant.”
As Captain of the Traffic and Patrol Division, Wilkins will direct programs related to law enforcement, crime prevention, juvenile justice, and traffic enforcement. She will be responsible for the supervision of nearly 60 officers, including the DARE officers and the Neighborhood Patrol Officers, and have greater opportunities to interact with community members and coordinate special event planning.
Having served the Lakewood Police Department in so many different roles, Captain Wilkins believes she will be able to lead from those experiences. “I always joke that the only job I haven’t done here is that of Animal Warden. I have always been able to put myself back in a dispatcher’s shoes, as well as other positions, and I am grateful that I was lucky enough to have experienced so many different departmental perspectives.”
Captain Wilkins is married to Bruce Wilkins, a retired Sergeant from the City of Lakewood Police Department. They have three children, Brent, Kelsey, and Jack. Following in his parent’s footsteps, Jack is currently in the police academy at Cuyahoga Community College. Captain Wilkins feels especially grateful because she has had the opportunity to serve the city where she was born and raised and to follow in the footsteps of her father, Warren G. Day, who served with the Lakewood Fire Department for 38 years.
On her advice to other young women considering a career in law enforcement, Captain Wilkins offered the following, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, and don’t tell yourself that you can’t do it either.”