Vicky Headley has worked for six police chiefs since she started working as a clerk for the Bartlett Police Department records office 25 years ago.
She’s also worked in two physical locations and saw the records transfer from typewriters to computers. Now Headley, 62, is retiring from her position as supervisor of that same department. Her last day was July 31.
“The thing I’m going to miss the most is the camaraderie among the people here,” said Headley. “Even though we’re bigger now, it’s still like a family atmosphere.”
The department held a luncheon and brief ceremony Friday morning. Mayor Keith McDonald presented her with a key to the city, and her co-workers presented her with gifts.
“She’s been a fixture here, always reliable, always loyal,” said police Chief Gary Rikard. “She’s always been there when you need her.”
When Headley joined the department full-time in June 1988, she already had been working there since 1986 as a part-time crossing guard at Ellendale Elementary. She also worked as an assistant at the school where her three boys attended.
“It was such a perfect fit for me,” said Headley of her days as a crossing guard. “I could go to work at the school and then be a crossing guard when it let out.”
But when Capt. J.W. Horton offered her the chance to join the force full-time, she gladly accepted.
“She was a godsend,” said Horton. “I was tickled to death to have her.”
Headley went to work for the department at a time when the clerks typed all the officer’s reports. Officers now type their own reports on computers. The Bartlett police force also was much smaller in those days and was in a building across the street from Bartlett High School. Today, the police department jail and city court share a facility at Bartlett’s Justice Center on Appling Road.
“It’s amazing to look back and think we could all fit in the building,” she said.
Despite when Headley has called an increased workload, the records office has just three clerks as it did when she began. One of those clerks, Pat Silkebaken, will take over as supervisor of the department. Kristi Robinson will continue to work as a clerk, and the department will hire someone new, said Rikard.
“When you have a small group like the three of us, it makes it much easier,” said Silkebaken, who has worked in records for 17 years. “But she still leaves big shoes to fill.”
Meanwhile, Headley said her sons, their wives and her seven grandchildren – some of whom were on-hand for the celebration Friday – are some of the reasons why she’s decided it’s time to step down. But through tears, she also spoke fondly of her colleagues.
“This is the greatest group of people I’ve ever been around,” she said.