Officer LaFlamme serves as Hudson’s senior liaison

By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Officer Wendy LaFlamme (Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.)

Officer Wendy LaFlamme (Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.)

Hudson – Officer Wendy LaFlamme became the senior liaison between the Hudson Police Department (HPD) and the town’s elder population within the past year, but had previously fulfilled the position’s duties informally. She has always included visits to the Hudson Senior Center while walking or bike riding the downtown beat.

“I didn’t feel like I needed a special title,” she explained. “If a senior came to me as a police officer and needed help, I would do what I could to help them. I go to the senior center because some people have issues and they won’t call the police station or come up to us in a police cruiser.”

LaFlamme developed an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement while attending Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough, where she graduated in 1983. Then she studied criminal justice and earned an associate degree at Quinsigamond Community College and a bachelor’s degree at Curry College. In 1998, she joined the HPD as a reserve officer and started fulltime in 1999.

“I always knew that I wanted to do this type of work,” she said. “I like helping people and the excitement of every day being different. If somebody gets enough courage to call the police station, then it’s something that’s important to them.”

It’s important for her to establish a presence within the community. There, she interacts with residents of all ages.

“Community policing is a big thing,” she said. “Being out there in the public, my goal is to make them feel like they can approach me. That’s why I’m a police officer.”

LaFlamme is mindful that she can be a role model for girls and women in town. Her favorite motto, albeit altered: “It’s a man’s world, but I’m in it!”

“Since I’ve been working in the department, there have been a couple of women, but they never got to fulltime status,” she noted. “I feel like I’m representing women, so I don’t want to let them down. I always try to improve myself.”

LaFlamme encourages girls to participate in the HPD’s Summer Youth Academy. She noted recognizing similarities between herself and the girls who attend.

“First there was one girl, the next year three, and now about half of them are girls,” she said. “I see myself in some of them.”

Now, LaFlamme is visiting the senior center even more often. She makes well-being checks when frequenters of the center suddenly aren’t going there. Additionally, she discusses concerns with Janice Long, director, and refers seniors with questions to the social services advocates Holly Budrewicz and Ana Terra-Salomano. Some residents are introduced to the senior center by LaFlamme.

“I brought a veteran in there on my own time,” she relayed. “He had lost his health insurance because he didn’t do the paperwork. They have a great staff there and they help a lot with paperwork.”

As senior liaison, LaFlamme has strengthened her goal of being accessible.

“I want seniors to feel comfortable coming to me even if it’s not a police issue,” she said. “They might just need to talk with someone.”

As someone who frequently works downtown, she appreciates how the senior center’s 1859 building contributes to the area’s revitalization. After temporarily conducting most activities at the Town Hall, the senior center reopened with a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion in September 2010.

“It was well worth the work and the money,” LaFlamme said. “It’s amazing to me how many people are using the senior center. When I retire, I’m definitely going to hang out there.”

Seniors can contact Officer LaFlamme by calling the HPD at 978-562-7122.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=70018

Posted by on Dec 30 2015. Filed under Byline Stories, Hudson, People and Places. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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