Lancaster County sees first female police chief

For the last 35 years, West Hempfield Police Chief Mark Pugliese has responded to thousands of calls, but this one truly tugged at the heartstrings.

“It’s emotional. To hear everybody respond. That’s the best way to describe it- emotional,” said Pugliese.

“39-1: thank you for your 35 years of service to West Hempfield and Mountville borough. It’s been a pleasure working with you. Congratulations and enjoy your retirement, sir." That was the final dispatch message Pugliese received.

And Pugliese says as bittersweet as this is, he always vowed never to let the department go stale.

That’s why he says one of his favorite memories of his career is watching younger officers evolve.

“That’s what it’s about, passing on the torch to some of the younger guys. We have some excellent officers that are ready to take the lead,” said Pugliese.

And the next one to take the lead is unlike any other in Lancaster County history.

Lisa Layden currently serves as a detective sergeant with the Southwest Regional Police Department in York County.

She will be the first female chief in Lancaster County, and she says she’s ready for the task.

"The most important thing to me is to be a role model for future women and that I can set an example for women that are maybe thinking about law enforcement, and by seeing me in this role, can see that for their future," said Layden.

And as Chief Pugliese passes on that torch, he has some words of advice for Layden.

“I never wanted to say, well that’s the way we’ve always done it. So my advice is to stick to her plan. I certainly think that she needs to put her own touches onto the department, and that’s part of the reason why I’m leaving,” said Pugliese.

Chief Pugliese may be retiring as police chief, but he’s not done working just yet.

On Monday morning, he will begin his next endeavor, working in the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

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