FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — Officer Christina Calabrese always knew she wanted to help people. She didn’t always know that would mean wearing a badge.
Calabrese is the sole female on the force at the Fairview Park Police Department — for now.
Monday evening, the department will swear in their second female officer, Amanda Hornblower, who is transferring from the Cleveland Police Department.
“I feel like I’m completely accepted,” Calabrese said. “No one worries when I come as backup that it is an issue. I’m on the same playing field, everyone treats me the same.”
But one thing missing from the department is a women’s locker room, shower and restroom. Currently, a 6-by-12-foot closet acts as Calabrese's changing room.
“The building was built in 1967 and much of the building hasn’t had any renovations other than a coat of paint for that long,” said Chief Erich Upperman.
So the department applied for a grant and will receive $50,000 from Cuyahoga County to create women’s facilities. Another $200,000 from the city will revamp the men’s lockers and showers.
Upperman has hired 10 new officers in his six years as chief.
“So that’s half of our department and they need something to be proud of, something they’re deserving of,” Upperman said.
The city will begin taking bids on construction in the next month and construction is expected to be complete on the renovation by October, Upperman said.