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Earlier this month, 25-year Fairfax County Police veteran Maggie DeBoard took over as Chief of Police for the Town of Herndon, making her the first female municipal police chief within Fairfax County.

The 48-year-old is no stranger to firsts. DeBoard began her career with the county in 1986 as a patrol officer and many other positions in which she served within the Fairfax County Police Department include: commander of the countyís helicopter division, commander of the special operations division, captain of the Franconia district station and deputy chief for Investigations and Operations Support. She was also the countyís first female SWAT officer.

DeBoard lives in Fairfax Station and has a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from George Mason University. She also is a graduate of the FBIís National Academy, the Virginia Tech Institute for Leadership in Changing Times, the West Point Leadership Course and the International Association of Chiefs of Police Leadership in Police Organization Course.

She was interviewed this week by the Fairfax County Times and outlined her goals as chief of the Herndon Police Department.

Question: So, yet another first for you as a female police officer. Does that create any additional pressure?

Answer: Honestly, I donít feel any pressure from that. I have been in so many jobs that I was the first female in, that I no longer feel that pressure. I have only ever taken jobs and leadership roles that I felt comfortable with, and that I knew I could handle. To me this position is no different. I feel capable of handling it and I like Herndon. It has, and has always had, a great reputation in law enforcement circles.

Q: So what does Ďhandling ití mean? What do you see as priorities for the Herndon Police Department?

A: My entire HPD command staff is now eligible to retire. Both my captains and four lieutenants are all eligible to leave. So I need to seriously look at what is best for the Herndon Police Department and prepare for transition training and training of officers to take over those roles. That is my top priority right now, because what I donít want to happen is that everyone walks out the door at once and we are not prepared for it.

Q: What other goals do you plan on achieving?

A: Well, Iím a cyclist and I ran a bicycle unit in Fairfax County and I strongly believed in that unit. With the W&OD bicycle trail running through the center of Herndon, one of the first things I plan to do is to get at least two officers put back into a full-time bike unit. Not everyone needs to be in a patrol car. Bicycles are a great way -- for officers, and for me -- to get out and meet the community. Bikes also allow access to areas that cars can not get to. I plan to go out with them on a bike and patrol myself that way as well. Itís a great way to meet the community.

Q: As Iím sure you are aware, Herndon was one of the first communities in the nation to initialize 287(g) federal law enforcement powers for local officers to be able to police federal immigration law, which became a very divisive issue within the town. What is your position on continuing that type of enforcement in Herndon?

A: I certainly support the townís position on it. Of course, my position as police chief is to support the townís objectives. From everything that I have learned from the short time I have researched it, the way 287(g) training is utilized, it is very effective. The issues surrounding it have really died down and the department seems to be managing the issue very effectively, so itís not necessarily my position to agree or disagree with it. My position is to support the town, and I feel comfortable with the way things are currently being done. I also feel that the resources involved are adequate to handle what the town has set out to accomplish with that program.

Q: Is there anything else that you want residents to know about you?

A: I want everyone to know that I came to Herndon because I wanted to. I have always had a great respect for the town. Many officers came to Fairfax County from Herndon because they wanted to be able to expand their training beyond what they could achieve here, but they always had good things to say about Herndon. I am sincerely happy to be here and I plan on getting out, meeting people and getting involved in the community.

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com