Parker County Today April 2017 - Page 28

C ourageous M om — GLADYS HANSEN The “Mom” Of The Weatherford PD For Over 40 Years BY MISTY BROWNING Gladys Hansen is a woman who has been the epitome of cour- age for multiple generations. The 74-year-old mother and grand- mother was Weatherford’s first female patrol officer, and the first female commanding officer. What makes her courageous, though, is her having lived her life the way she has wanted start- ing with moving to Parker County with her five children from Montana in 1974.  “I got a divorce and my ex-husband would not leave me alone,” Hansen explained. “I would go somewhere and he would just show up, so I had to move away. I worked part-time search and rescue and I had met a family from down here. I got acquainted with the family and decided to move here.”  Hansen began working for the Weatherford Police Department as a relief dispatcher for $2.10 an hour.  “Back then, you did it on your own. Ralph Adcox [former Weatherford Police Chief] told me that I better be at work and not let my kids get in the way,” Hansen said. She says that when she started working in dispatch she never dreamed of being a police officer. She moved to the records department and in 1977 put herself through the police academy.  All five of her children — Janet, Donald, Gerald and twins Dean and Gene were in school at Millsap ISD when she moved here, which made a tough situation a little easier for her. Her two eldest, Janet and Gerald, spent some time in Washington with their aunt and uncle.  “All the kids were in school when I moved down here, which I wanted to do because I knew that I would not have any support,” Hansen explained. “They were responsible kids, and when I worked evening or night shift I had something prepared for them to eat when they got home from school. They would get up on their own and get themselves on the bus.”  In 1978, she graduated from North Texas Regional Police Academy and enrolled at Weatherford College to earn her asso- ciates degree in criminal justice. She continued her education and graduated from Tarleton State University with her bachelors in 1988.  Hansen officially retired in 2000 after 32 years with the department. She retired due to a bicycle accident that broke her pelvis.  She still works part-time as a front desk officer handling complaints and taking reports, making it almost 43 years working with the department. During her tenure she served under five police chiefs: Ralph Adcox, John Looper, Elwood Hoherz, Jerry Blaisdell and current chief Mike Manning.  “When I first got here I learned quick that she was consid- ered the ‘mom’ of the police department,” said Chief Manning. “She takes a personal interest in everyone she comes into contact with, and does a lot of things around here that people don’t know about. She is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met.”  “Gladys was a pioneer for a woman’s position in law 26 enforcement,” said former chief Blasidell. “She came in when there was not a lot of opportunity for women and not only opened that door, but had a career in that field. She is a very strong woman and was capable of doing the demands of police work while being a great mom. Officers saw her as a strong leader and commander, yet also as someone with a motherly instinct.“ So what does she do in her spare time when she’s not at the police station? The answer is everything. She takes care of eight rescue dogs from the shelter that no one else wanted. She is part of a retiree’s group and drinks coffee with them almost every morning. She exercises on a regular basis, including haul- ing wood and ashes for her wood stove. She also attends church three times a week.  She is still in contact with and has a good relationship with her now-grown kids, with one living in El Paso and the other four living in Parker County. One of her twins, Gene, has followed in his mom’s footsteps and has been a Texas State Trooper for 21 years.  “The nicest things about your kids is when they grow up, you can be both mom and their friend,” Hansen said.  She credits her career in law enforcement to both her chil- dren and the community.  “I have been very blessed, and the City of Weatherford has been good to me. The community as a whole has been good to me and a good place to live and have a family,”  Manning joked that when Hansen retires he’s afraid the police department will not be able to continue functioning. Deputy Chief Chris Crawford said it best when asked about Hansen and her life. “Everyone in the Weatherford Police Department family has been blessed to be a part of her life, and have the opportunity to call her a great friend and colleague. Gladys has and continues to be a courageous and empathetic person with a passion for service, whether that is to her family or her community.” It’s that empathy for those around her, plus her hard work at both home and on the job, that makes her courageous.