NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — History was made in New Britain today. Jeanette Portalatin is the highest ranking woman and highest ranking Hispanic person the Police department has ever had.
“She is one of the most humble, professional, hard-working, dedicated people you’re ever going to meet,” said Police Chief Christopher Chute.
Chute Portalatin actually go way back to their patrol days.
“Back then, all we thought about was getting to the detective position and taking that exam and going from there,” said Portalatin. “We never thought about reaching such heights.”
Portalatin kept reaching new heights from detective to lieutenant to the first female police captain in New Britain history. The first hispanic captain as well. Now she has been sworn in as the first female deputy chief, by the city’s second female mayor, who says gender has nothing to do with how Portalatin got here.
“She’s so knowledgeable about her job, so knowledgeable about this city,” said Mayor Erin Stewart (R-New Britain) “She’s fair, and she treats everyone with respect.”
“In the very end of the final interview, all of us had a single word for Jeanette and that was: ‘Awesome,'” explained Board of Police Commissioners chairman Howard Dyson.
The department has tried hard to rebuild its reputation after a series of scandals a few years ago. James Wardwell became chief with a mission to clean things up. He retired a few months ago.
“Retired chief James Wardwell was a catalyst in my career,” said Portalatin. “He opened up opportunities. From there, one thing led to another.”
Which led to this morning, and her own daughter pinning the deputy chief’s badge on her uniform. After all this, does she see herself as a role model?
“It’s not my intent,” Portalatin said. “If someone sees me as a role model, I’m glad to help anyone else out. I just try to do the best I can.”
That kind of humility is very much her, according to her friends and co-workers. The current chief said in his speech that, no matter how many promotions she gets, she has always remained “Still Jeanette” he said.