Ten Minutes with Gary MacNamara
Fairfield’s Police Chief
Gary MacNamara began his career with the Fairfield Police Department as a patrol officer in 1988. A graduate of the FBI National Academy, he has been chief since 2010. He is chairman of Fairfield’s version of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” an event planned by Bridgeport’s Center for Family Justice, based on the international men’s march to raise awareness to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. Recently we had a chance to chat with him about his participation and life in general.
You always wear towering red high heels when you walk—why not more comfy shoes?
What better way to call attention to these issues than by wearing bright red high heels? I obviously don’t wear them for comfort, although they are not as difficult to walk in as they may appear. Many people have asked me if I will wear a different pair. The answer is always no, why would I? I have finally broken these in, and by only walking in them once a year they should last a lifetime. I sure hope everyone reading this will join me on April 28, 2018.
What do you think men can do to help end sexual abuse and violence?
People often say men have to get involved because they are part of the problem. While it is true a majority of the offenders are men, the overwhelming majority of men are not offenders. That majority can have a great impact on prevention through awareness, role modeling, and engagement. Each year we have seen this event grow in size and participation. This event can move people from the National #MeToo dialogue to actual participation in an event designed to bring awareness and action to the issues.
On a lighter note, tell me more about your side career as a stand-up comic.
Given all the seriousness that we all deal with these days I think it is always good to laugh. Whether or not I am any good at it, I would have to leave that up to others to judge. I like to say I don’t make people laugh, but I try to make people laugh. You can laugh at me or with me, your choice.
What’s the strangest call you’ve gotten on the job?
A call came in late from a laundromat for a woman who needed help. I approached the scene with caution in mind, when all of a sudden the woman came out, screaming for help. Fearing the worst, I followed her into the business, which was vacant except for us. I searched for a suspect, or whatever it was causing her such concern. I was able to get her to calm down enough to explain that her $200 bath mat was stuck in a machine, causing it to tear. Risking life and limb, I reached in to free the endangered item. It taught me a great lesson early on in my career—a crisis or emergency is not defined by me. It is defined by the person going through it.
What would you want civilians to know about the police department?
We are defined by so much more than our uniforms. The men and women, both sworn and non-sworn, are often facing the same concerns the rest of the community faces. Behind each uniform is a person working hard every day to make Fairfield Safer. Don’t forget we are human, too.