Gail Mullen Beaudoin
Class of 1979
Gail (Mullen) Beaudoin CHS ’79 was always a bright, energetic, determined and dedicated person. While at CHS she took several college prep classes to help prepare her for college and her dream of someday being a police officer.
She had dreamt of becoming a police officer some day. She can remember this dream early on while at Chelmsford High School. To that end she enrolled in the Criminal Justice program at the University of Lowell, graduating in 1983. She took advantage of all that UML had to offer and participated in an internship opportunity where she worked as a security guard for a large software company. This experience helped her to prepare for her future career in law enforcement.
She continued her education and training by participating in many police sponsored professional development programs and completed her Masters Degree-Public Administration at UMass-Lowell (with honors) while working full time.
Gail realized her dream in 1985 when she became one of two women hired by the Chelmsford Police Department. Due to her determination and perseverance Gail rose steadily through the ranks during her 32-year career (all with CPD). She was the first and only woman to become a detective, sergeant and ultimately lieutenant. Her career included assignments as a patrol officer, detective, crime prevention, traffic & safety, firearm licensing, shift supervisor and on the lighter side, Gail was “McGruff the Crime Dog” in the annual Chelmsford 4th of July parade.
Chelmsford Police Department, Chief Jim Spinney said in a Lowell Sun story outlining Gail’s career at the time of her retirement, “Gail’s ability to communicate in a friendly compassionate way has made her an unbelievable asset to this Police Department. Her career was defined by her passion working with the community’s most vulnerable, especially senior citizens. Her work with the seniors as well as victims of crime was where she received the most satisfaction. She still stays in touch with many of these individuals today.”
It was this concern and passion for people that led Gail to run for the Chelmsford Housing Authority. At the time of her induction to the CHSAA Hall of Fame, she had been elected to four 5-year terms.
David Hedison, Executive Director of the Chelmsford Housing Authority said, “My professional experience began when she was the community officer working with our agency to protect seniors from abuse and financial exploitation to assisting our office with difficult cases of fraud being committed by participants of our numerous programs. Her commitment in serving our residents and our community only strengthened when she was elected to serve on the Chelmsford Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.”
Along the way Gail earned many recognitions, citations and awards, which include:
1983: ULowell CJ Excellence in Research Award
1988: Received Lifesaving Award from CPD
2005: Chelmsford Police Department- Meritorious Service Award
2008: Heroes and Icon Award presented by Merrimack Valley Elder Services
2010: UMass Lowell Outstanding Criminal Justice Alumni
At the time Gail was hired, it was rare to see women in law enforcement. She had to endure discrimination and sexism from fellow officers as well as the general public in the carrying out of her duties. Calling on her determination, perseverance and caring personality she soon gained the much-deserved respect of her colleagues and the community that she served.
Gail found a way to assist people who would like to pursue a potential career in law enforcement by teaching criminal justice courses at UMASS-Lowell and at police academies in Boylston, Lowell, and North Reading. Here she taught topics that were near and dear to her, such as Alzheimer's disease, drug addiction and victimization. She drew from her own personal experiences to help make the instruction more authentic for her students. In her retirement she taught full-time as a criminal justice teacher at the Concord (NH) Regional Technical Center.
Perhaps her former colleague and Chief Jim Murphy put it best when he wrote, “Gail had many firsts at the police department, and she will be remembered by numerous officers and staff as being the consummate police professional. She was truly a trailblazer in her various positions, but in her mind, I’m sure she would tell you that she was simply doing a job that she loved, and one in which she had the opportunity to help a lot of people. For that, she is to be commended.”