By Vallerie Malkin, Advancement & Publications Writer, Office of University Communications
Cathleen Lyons Moniz ’99 was just 24 years old when she entered the police force in 1977, fresh on the heels of a new law in Massachusetts that made women eligible to become officers as opposed to “police women,” who had different duties and pay structures than men.
The spirit of equal rights carries through in her work today, and Moniz’s efforts to recruit female and minority officers to the Fall River Police Department recently earned her recognition by the Massachusetts Association of Women in Law Enforcement.
Originally from Fall River, Moniz earned an associate degree in law enforcement from Bristol Community College before she took a civilian job with the New Bedford Police Department and later became an officer in Fall River. She returned to school in her mid-40s, double-majoring in criminal justice and public administration at Roger Williams University. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Moniz stayed on at RWU to complete her master’s degree in administration of justice.
“Roger Williams did as much as it possibly could to make it work for people who had other obligations in their busy lives,” says Moniz, who worked days and attended school at night and on weekends year-round until she finished her studies.
Moniz, now deputy chief in Fall River, found a home in the law enforcement field from the start. “I just fell in love with it,” she says. “Whether you work as a patrol officer or you work in forensics or with sexual assault victims, the elderly or juveniles, there are lots of career possibilities in criminal justice.”
In addition to a huge variety of professional memberships, Moniz serves as a member of the advisory board for RWU’s Justice System Training and Research Institute. “I’ve been very honored to have been part of such a prestigious group of people and to stay connected with my alma mater,” Moniz says.