Michelle Small, right, is sworn in as Bath’s deputy police chief at city hall on Tuesday by Bath Town Clerk Darci Wheeler, center. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

Michelle Small was sworn in as Bath’s new deputy police chief on Tuesday, making her the first woman to be promoted to the position in the department’s history.

The deputy chief position opened when former Deputy Chief Andrew Booth became chief after former Chief Mike Field retired. Booth announced he was appointing Small as deputy chief late last month.

Although she’s the first woman to reach such a high rank within the department, Small said she has “never looked at my career that way.”

“I’ve always gone to work like everyone else and try to do my best,” said Small. “Whoever is most qualified for a position, no matter race, gender, or anything else, they should be the ones chosen for the job. My department has never made me feel any different. I’ve never been involved in any inequality issues.”

Despite this, Small said she hopes her promotion inspires other women and girls to consider a career in law enforcement, a typically male-dominated profession.

“Since I’ve been in this department, there was only one other woman who worked with me,” said Small. “I’m the only female sworn officer in the department now and have been for most of my career. Female law enforcement is growing now and I’m so excited to see more women get involved in law enforcement and typically male-dominated careers. I want to promote the profession, and what’s exciting is the idea that this is paving the way for young women and girls.”


According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about one in eight local police officers are female and roughly one in 10 first-line supervisors are female. However, the department noted the number of women in law enforcement has increased in recent years.

From 1997 to 2016, the percentage of female officers in local police departments increased from 10% to just over 12%, according to the Department of Justice.

Small is the Bath department’s first female deputy chief. She said she hopes her becoming deputy chief will encourage other women and girls to consider working in law enforcement. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

Booth said women, historically, have been a “highly under-represented part of our department,” despite them being “just as capable as men in being a good soldier or a good police officer.” He said Small becoming the first female deputy chief “shows that women have the same opportunities as males in law enforcement.”

“In Michelle’s case, her being a female did not factor into my decision to promote her,” said Booth. “I was looking at capabilities and skills, which she has, that are needed in a good deputy chief. I chose Michelle based upon her qualifications, skills, and work ethic. She is highly organized with good attention to detail and able to multi-task.”

Born and raised in Bath, Small began her career at the Bath police department in 2001 and became the department’s K9 handler the following year. She was promoted to corporal in 2013, then sergeant in 2018, but still acts as the department’s only K9 handler.

“I’ve always wanted to be in this profession from as early as I can remember just being a kid watching police shows,” said Small. “It was always something I knew I wanted to do.”


Chief Andrew Booth selected Sergeant Michelle Small to be his deputy chief after he was sworn in as chief late last month. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

Although K9 handlers typically give up their roles when they take on new leadership positions, she will be allowed to continue working with her partner, K9 Sampson, her second police dog in nearly 20 years, until he retires in a few years.

“That has been the best part of my career,” Small said of her position as K9 handler. “Working with the dog is very rewarding; it’s quite a bond. My first dog worked in the department for 10 years and now with Sampson, I’ve been assigned to him since 2013.”

Small said she’s “honored to have been chosen” and is looking forward to the challenge of stepping into her role as deputy chief. She said her priority is maintaining the department’s community-oriented policing philosophy.

“I’m really looking forward to working with her as my deputy chief and have no doubt that we’ll make a great team,” said Booth. “Having been the deputy chief, I know Michelle has what it takes to succeed in that role.”

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