By A.M. Sheehan, Editor
NORWAY — She has a very long trail and very big footsteps to follow.
Taylor Fillebrown, 17, of Waterford, is following her family’s path into serving the community. Her grandfather – Charlie Fillebrown – was a Maine state trooper and, after retiring, a dispatcher for Oxford County. Her dad – Adam Fillebrown – is also a trooper with one of the K-9 units. Her mom – Louise Fillebrown – is an emergency room nurse at Stephens Memorial Hospital, and her uncle – Doug Fillebrown – just started as a dispatcher for Oxford County.
It’s no wonder Taylor is heading into law enforcement.
“I am very interested in the whole policing thing,” she smiles. “It’s what I want to do, I guess it runs in the family, I grew up with it.”
Her favorite part of law enforcement, at the moment, is traffic.
She has begun her career path with Norway Police Department as the department’s intern through the Community Internship Program at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. This is her second year at NPD.
“People talk about it [her internship] at school, they say, ‘She’s the intern,’ and people recognize me [outside of school] as the Norway intern,” Taylor said.
Her first year, at 16, she interned one period every other day. This year, she is there for three periods every other day. And sometimes longer.
“One day I was here from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” she says. She can ride with officers whenever she wants and that day, she simply didn’t want to stop and go home. “My parents know if I keep my grades up I’m OK to put the hours in. Grades are very important.”
So what does an intern do?
“I get to go on ride-alongs, I learn how to do reports, I keep track of statistics, like arrests and tickets, and I wash cruisers.”
Once, she grimaces, she got to talk on the radio.
“I was under pressure and very nervous,” Taylor said.
She knows she can do better at that.
“I think I am the only police intern at the high school,” she comments.
She is intensely interested in traffic which includes far more than writing tickets.
“I went to a car accident – logging truck versus car – on Route 117 and it was so cool to be on the scene and watch how everything goes down … to figure it out,” Taylor said. “I was there for six hours. That really stuck with me.”
She plans to go on to college after high school to study criminal justice. Her options, she says, are Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Mass., which has a nice campus and good location. Other options she is considering are Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H. – “I loved the campus and the people there,” she says – and Husson University in Bangor, which allows her to attend the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in her fourth year for free.
She is thinking about minoring in forensic psychology if she goes to Husson or just psychology elsewhere.
Taylor says interning and spending extra time riding along with the officers doesn’t cut in to her social life.
“I am always busy, I always have something to do.”
She plays ice hockey in Massachusetts and she and her best friend share classes in school.
“I love babysitting,” she continues. Most of her clients are law enforcement.
She also enjoys K-9 training with her dad and helping him with whatever he needs.
She has firearms training and is trained for a concealed weapons permit.
So what’s it like working with NPD?
“It’s not boring!” Taylor exclaims.
She gets to go when officers serve paperwork and on some calls, such as domestic violence calls. Sometimes she is even allowed to get out of the car. She helps with the Walking School Bus as well.
“A lot of stuff goes on in this area,” she says, “like drugs … a lot. But there’s a lot of good, too … like the library teen center.”
“The chief [Rob Federico] is a good guy, Gary’s [Detective Gary Hill] funny and Jeff [Investigator Jeff Campbell] is getting to be a lot like Gary. I like to ride with Brandon [Patrolman Brandon Correia] because he’s all about traffic! It’s nerve wracking shooting in front of Mitch [Cpl. Mitch Shaw] because he’s an instructor.”
She is still unsure what she would like to do in law enforcement although accident reconstruction has her attention at the moment.
“Figuring out how it happened” really appeals to her. “But there are too many options in the field,” she says, “so I am not sure which direction [I will go in].”
Nor is she sure what agency she might like to work for.
“I could go federal and then go anywhere in the country,” she says. “I could go state but I could make more money if I went with the state police in New Hampshire but I don’t know if I want to leave Maine. There are so many options but I am very independent so it won’t be hard … and I might go local first.”
She says she wouldn’t mind working for Norway because “I know the town pretty well.”
And if the attitude of the department is any indication, it would be happy to have her.