Honored and Humbled: That’s how Department of Criminal Justice Class Coordinator Lee Ann Boyle says she felt after receiving word of her nomination for the Kentucky Women’s Law Enforcement Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Boyle received the honor during the network’s September 2019 conference. The designation is reserved for those who spend no less than 20 years in direct support and/or service to the law enforcement community.
Modestly, Boyle said she was sure there were others more deserving of the award than she was, but added that the recognition was sweeter because it came from a former recruit.
“When you talk with people and you pass on the knowledge that you had before, you don’t realize the impact you have on someone until you receive this type of recognition,” she said. “I felt really blessed.”
In the nomination, the former recruit, Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy and K9 handler Jennifer Kermeen, recalled meeting Boyle after she, as a new recruit, was initially unable to complete the necessary pushups required to enter DOCJT’s Basic Training Academy.
“My first day back to work (as a court security officer), (Boyle) walked into the building where I was working,” read Kermeen’s nomination. “Now I knew who (she) was, although we had never officially met … (She) walked up to me and said, ‘I thought you were in the academy.’ After a moment of sharing why I was back at work, she said, ‘I want to train you.’”
And train they did. The deputy said Boyle spent four months working with her outside of work hours, sticking with Kermeen each mile and pushup of the way until she entered the academy. There Kermeen earned the most improved in physical fitness award, according to Boyle.
“The best part of mentoring is that I’ve gotten a best friend out of it,” Boyle added, noting that when she took Kermeen on to train she felt the young peace officer had what it took to be one of the best by the way she carried herself. “I am so proud of her.”
Kermeen still states that Boyle changed her life and that she possesses a heart and grit that are rarely found today.
Jill Stulz, present of KWLEN, said that Boyle’s membership with the organization had made the board familiar with her and her professional successes.
“What Jennifer’s letter did was solidify Mrs. Boyle’s mentoring and nurturing qualities that KWLEN highly encourages amongst our members,” explained Stulz of Boyle’s award presentation. “Knowing several officers who have gone through (DOCJT’s basic training) academy with Mrs. Boyle as their coordinator, they also have nothing but praise for her, stating she was always encouraging, positive and willing to help with whatever issue or problem came up during their academics…It was easy to name Mrs. Boyle as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner.”
Learning to Lead: Initially applying to Berea Police Department, the only woman among 120 men, Boyle was hired as a dispatcher and then as a patrol officer one year later.
“I loved it. I found my niche,” she said. “I was able to be the voice for those who didn’t have a voice. And I was able to give them advice and help that I wish I would have had.”
Two years later, Boyle worked her way up to detective, working on crimes against persons and more. During her nine years as a detective, Boyle became a sergeant and spent time on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force, the Special Response Team and as a field training officer, a less-lethal instructor and OC instructor. She was then promoted to lieutenant assigned to patrol. Boyle said she enjoyed being back on the road, as she was back in the position of passing on knowledge she gathered to younger officers.
“When we become involved in this career, you start as a rookie, but as other people start being hired under you, you begin training your replacements,” she explained.
In 2016, Boyle was injured while trying to apprehend a subject. Thinking her police career was over, Boyle said she felt crushed. But not one to stay down, she applied for a job as a DOCJT instructor and landed the job. Now in class coordination, Boyle says she is loving her job because she is able to mentor recruits once more in hopes they, too, will understand how important they are in the law enforcement profession.
“Always leave a place better than you found it. Be the impact on someone that leaves them with a sense of you caring about what happens to them, because they aren’t going to call you on their best days. They are going to call you on their worst days. And you are going to be their voice. And sometimes leaving a place better than you found it may not always be what you want it to be. It may be taking a violent person out of the home. It may be arresting someone for drunk driving. It may be comforting a child. It may be being that voice of reason.”
During her policing career, Boyle was also the recipient of a medal of valor in 2009 and officer of the year.
Article by Critley King Smith, courtesy of the Department of Criminal Justice Training.