Lt. Paula Claunch has become the first female patrol lieutenant at the Stephenville Police Department. She was promoted Thursday, May 7, and is excited about it, but knows there will be some big adjustments from her previous positions at the station.
“I never thought I would be a sergeant and then a lieutenant,” she said. “There are a lot of things I don’t know about this job and I’m just ready to get familiar with everything.”
The biggest change has been changing to the day shift from night shifts.
“Eight years of working nights, then changing to days, is a big adjustment,” Claunch said. “Your mind and body is completely opposite.”
Her new position consists of overseeing the patrol division as a whole and mostly doing administrative work rather than out patrolling—something she said she will miss.
“I’ll be doing a lot of different things from the patrol portion of the budget to the maintenance of vehicles and things like that,” she said. “I will miss it, but I will still have the opportunity to go out and work the street if a sergeant is off or something; I’ll get to cover for them.”
Claunch loves working for the department and talked about her background and how she ended up working in Stephenville; her hometown.
“I’ve wanted to do this since I was a kid, just something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. She was hired on as an officer in Benbrook after going to the academy in Weatherford.
“I heard they were hiring over here—I was still living here, so I was driving back and forth—and the schedule really appealed to me and I’m from here,” Claunch said. “I thought about it for a while then I did it and I’ve enjoyed it; I love working here.”
She has a lot of friends and family in the area, and with the police department being smaller, she has a lot of opportunities versus at a larger station.
“I think you learn more. In a bigger department there are a lot of different divisions,” she said. “But here we do a lot of our own investigations and you will handle a case from beginning to end without involving anybody else—you get to do it all, literally.”
As of now, she doesn’t necessarily have plans for the position yet and is just trying to familiarize herself with her new duties with the help of Lt. James Gresham and all the other officers in the department.
“Those guys are so knowledgeable and I know if I need help, I’m comfortable with going to them and asking for help and they’re always going to take the time to show me,” Claunch said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn from these guys who have been doing it a lot longer than I have—I’ve got a lot to learn from them.”