Published Date Written by Marge NiblockJessica Googins said she was in middle school when her dad took her with him on a "Take Your Daughter to Work Day." Her father, Ed Googins, at that time was a captain in Portland's police department.
Today, Jessica Googins is the first woman to have the same badge number on her hat as her father.
Last spring Lt. Robert J. Doherty taught a class on the history of the Portland Police Department, which Jessica Googins attended. At that time he said that Googins was the first woman to have the same badge number as her father.
After the class ended, Googins went up to Doherty and said, "I don't have his badge number." Doherty was surprised, and then said, "We've got to make that happen."
Evidence technician Victor Cote had badge 53 and, when told about the situation, he was happy to relinquish that number.
A little ceremony was held on Father's Day 2012, right after roll call when Googins came in to work early that morning. She said, "The people from 'late-out' stayed over, so it was a pretty packed room" for the ceremony. Googins said, "I always wanted the same badge number as Dad," and so it was "very heartfelt and emotional," when her father presented the badge to her.
That badge is worn on her hat, and Chief Googins — today the chief of police in South Portland — also wears one on his hat. Her father left Portland to become the head of South Portland's department in 1994. He also served in 2011 as the 45th president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.
Chief Googins said, "Law enforcement is a very noble profession, which has been very good to me." He said he is very pleased and proud that he and his daughter now have the same badge number.
"Obviously there's a lot of meaning in it," he said. "It takes a very special person to be a police officer, and she (Jessica) is one." He said they "debrief" on a regular basis.
Googins became a Portland police officer in 2003. After almost 10 years on the force she says, "I really enjoy my job, interacting with people. Sometimes even when something starts out bad, it turns positive."
Googins was in the news at the end of January after someone saw an older couple sitting in the back of Googins's police car. It turned out that the couple had a shopping cart filled with groceries and were waiting for a bus on Washington Avenue. It was a bitterly cold day and Googins stopped to speak with them, offering to drive them home. The cart couldn't fit into her vehicle so she had them sit in the car until the bus arrived. The person who had been curious about the incident found out the particulars and then posted the information to the Facebook page of WGME-TV. By the end of that day, the posting had received over 17,000 "Likes."
When asked about the publicity garnered from her good deed, Googins said, "It was unexpected, that someone saw that and said something positive." But she said she really didn't like the attention, because it was nothing out of the ordinary, as far as she was concerned. "It's what everyone in this department does every single day," Googins said.
Googins likes meeting and talking to different people, especially since she was shy growing up, and she tries to make those interactions become positive.
"There are times when you have to use force, but most of the time if you talk to people they'll calm down," she said.
When she attended St. Joseph's College she majored in sociology, with the interest of law enforcement. It was her father's influence that brought her to the same job and department that he'd left.
"It piqued my interest enough that it became my intent," and Googins, who recalled accompanying her father when he went to OUI roadblocks, which fascinated her.
"It was good to see all of that stuff," she said. "My father has been in law enforcement almost 40 years and he still loves his job. It's really nice to see."
Seven other Portland officers have kept their badge numbers in the family: Bob Bickford; Jason Leadbetter; Vincent Rozzi; Bob Pelletier; Jay Twomey; Mark Keller; and Robert J. Doherty Jr., whose father and grandfather all had the same number.