OSSIPEE - The police department has hired its first female full-time police officer.
Kimberly Hatch, 33, of Madison was chosen from 13 applicants after a grueling, thorough process that included written and oral tests.
"She was one of the strongest candidates in the oral boards, and personally I think she will be very committed. We're excited," said Police Chief Don Grow.
Hatch is married to Robert Hatch, a heavy equipment operator with the town of Madison. They have a 7-year-old son, Austin.
In a recent interview, Hatch said she was drawn to law enforcement not only for career stability, but to make her family proud. Hatch used to run a housecleaning business out of the Conway area. Her roots to law enforcement run back to her grandfather, who served as a lieutenant with the Smithfield, R.I., police, the town in which she was born. The family later moved to Center Harbor, where Hatch went to school. In 1999, Hatch worked as a traffic control officer with the Conway police.
She currently serves with Madison's Fire and Rescue Department.
Prior to taking the exams for the Ossipee police position, Hatch prepared for the physicality of the job by working out with the Insanity fitness program, running and lifting free weights. During the summer, she rode along with officers to get a feel for the job and the region.
"It was very intimidating," she said of sitting before different police officers during the oral boards. Questions included "what-would-you-do?" scenarios and personal background. Hatch credits her experience in 4-H with preparing her to be in the public eye.
"I was in 4-H from age 8 to 18, and I learned a lot about being in front of people and being interviewed," she said.
Hatch heads off to the New Hampshire Standards and Training Police Academy on Jan. 7 for 14 weeks of rigorous training. Getting through the academy is her priority at the moment, but in the future Hatch said she would like to study accident reconstruction, help kids understand law enforcement and serve as an advocate for women.
"I'm proof that if you put your mind to it, you can do it," she said.
Currently, Hatch is riding with a Field Training Officer and going out on shifts, learning the 75.6 square miles of Ossipee, which includes West Ossipee, Center Ossipee and Ossipee Corner.
Next, Hatch qualifies for firearms at the department police range and, after the holidays, it's off to Concord.
"This is a new venture for me . I'm nervous and excited," she said.
Hatch fills a patrolman vacancy opened when Officer Anthony Sacco took a job with the Effingham police.