LEXINGTON, KY – Lexington-Fayette Police Officer Debbie Wagner will be the featured speaker at the Rotary Club of Lexington’s weekly meeting, which will be held Thursday, August 12, at 12:00 p.m., at Fasig-Tipton, 2400 Newtown Pike.
Debbie Wagner was born in Fort Thomas, Kentucky in 1956. After graduating from Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelor degree in Law Enforcement and minor in corrections, she relocated to Lexington, Kentucky. She began her law enforcement career with the Lexington Division of Police September 1978, as an officer of the first Safety Officer Class for nine months.
She completed Police Basic Training Class 99 July 1979. She became a police officer the summer of 1979 and started her first assignment in patrol. Before starting in patrol, she left for Fort McClellan, Alabama, for the US Army’s Military Police boot camp. She returned home and assumed her patrol duties working the second and third shifts. On her first month back on patrol, she worked her first murder on Deweese Street. She worked all patrol duties, and Officer Wagner especially liked working the downtown area because of the criminal activity and people.
Officer Wagner constantly reminded females they can become successful officers. There were only 19 female officers on the force when Officer Wagner started. She always tried to help motivate female officers with support and encouragement. She has helped several CPA attendees and other citizens to decide to become officers. She is always trying to recruit new officers and encourages the Citizen Police Academy to help recruit officers.
From 1992 through 2005, she was been the manager of - and singer in - the DARE 911 Police Rock and Roll Band. The band sang out against drugs and violence throughout Kentucky to over 90,000 children. In addition to coordinating art and music contests at each school they played, Officer Wagner coordinated the schedules with the schools and officers. The band worked hard to raise money to purchase a truck and all the equipment for the band. No funds for these purchases were funded by the police department.
She coordinated the first Citizen Police Academy for the Division of Police since the fall 1997. She also started the first Master Citizen Police Academy in 2001. Both academies continue to grow and be successful programs. She started a special Spanish CPA to help English-speaking students understand the Spanish language. She coordinates three Citizen Police Academies a year besides the Master Citizen Police Academy in January.
Officer Wagner has directed 38 CPA academies, 10 Master Academies and two Spanish CPA classes. She has coordinated over 2,000 citizens ranging from 18 to 88 years old. More than 30 Citizen police Academy graduates have become officers. Since the Lexington Police Department started the CPA, the city started a Mayor, Government and Fire Citizen Academy. The Department of Correction, University of Kentucky Police and Sheriff’s Department also have been interested in starting academies. Countless cities throughout the country have called Officer Wagner to help them start academies in their communities.
She also conducted classes for the National CPA Conference on how to run CPA’s and Alumni Associations. She also serves on the National Board for two years. She was selected National Citizen Police Academy Coordinator of the Year 1999 and 2007. The Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association was selected in 2006 and 2009 as best alumni in the nation. She is also a liaison for Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association. She attends CPAAA board and regular monthly meetings.
She also started the first Crime Free Multi-Housing Program in 1997 and Crime Free Hotel/Motel Program in 2000 in the state of Kentucky, which included over 700 multi-housing property owners/associates representing more than 220 properties.
Officer Wagner co-hosts the “Keepin’ the Peace,” a television program on GTV3, a local government channel, with Assistant Chief James Jackson. She helps produce the show, writes scripts, and coordinates stories and guest speakers. The show takes you behind the scenes of the Lexington Division of Police. The popular program started February 2001 and has aired over 70 different episodes in seven years.
She recently won the prestigious National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund Officer of the Month for November 2006. She was presented the award May 14, 2007, in Washington, D.C. Other honorees included Lieutenant Kenneth Landwehr of the Wichita, Kansas Police Department who caught the BTK killer. Also recognized were Corporal Jennifer Fulford from Orange County, Florida, Sheriff’s Department, who took shots from the criminal while trying to save lives, and Sr. Special Agent Julie De Mello, a Peace Corps Officer of the Inspector General.
Other awards Officer Wagner has received in the past five years include the 2007 Unit Citation Award from Lexington Division of Police for work at crash site Flight 5191 August 27, 2006. On September 26, 2007, Officer Wagner received International Community Service Award in Denver, Colorado, from the IAWP International Association of Women Police