South Hadley swore in first woman as police chief

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History was made in South Hadley Friday morning as Jennifer Gundersen was sworn in as the first woman to hold the title as South Hadley’s Police Chief. 

Dozens of officers from surrounding areas were there to watch one of their own took the oath, as well as family and friends. 

Chief Gundersen was appointed to this position last November by Town Administrator, Michael Sullivan.

The search for a new police chief in town generated more than 25 applicants from five states, but the role ended up going to someone close to home. 

Gundersen previously served with the Amherst Police Department for 24 years and held positions as a patrol officer and captain. 

She told 22News what’s she’s hoping to accomplish in the future. 

“I think this is an exciting time. I truly believe that community collaboration ensures the safety of the community, but it also promotes safety for police officers. So I’d like to find opportunities and better ways that we can be out there in the public,” said Gundersen. 

Her former chief told 22News why she’s the perfect person to hold this title. 

“She’s been an extremely hard worker her entire career with the Amherst Police Department. She gets it. She’s one of those individuals that gets it. Not afraid to take chances and new ideas. Town of South Hadley is lucky to have her,” said Amherst Police Chief Scott P. Livingstone. 

Gundersen now joins a few other women serving in leadership positions among law enforcement, including Northampton Police Chief, Jody Kasper, State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin, retired Springfield Chief of Police, Paula Meara, and Williamsburg police chief Denise Wickland.

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