Today marks Sisson's 41st year working for the Town of Middletown. Over that time, Sisson said she's seen a lot of change and made a positive difference in the community.
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EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: LISA SISSON
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (OCTOBER 8, 2021) – At any organization, there are those out front in the spotlight.
But just as important, if not more so, are the largely silent, unseen group who keep the wheels turning, making sure everything is working behind the scenes as it should.
For the Middletown Police Department, that’s Lisa Sisson, the administrative assistant to Chief William Kewer.
Today, Sisson celebrates 41 years as an employee with the Town, a career that’s spanned several different Town offices and departments, but has always been interesting.
“It’s been a great career and the Town has been very good to me,” Sisson said, taking a break from putting together a payroll sheet one recent morning.
“Before I came (to the Police Department), I started out as a 15-year-old working part time with the Canvassing office, then for the Tax Collector’s office and Finance. Now, I’ve been (at the Police Department) for 27 years. That’s four chiefs and five town administrators. No matter who’s been in charge, I’ve always felt accepted here and appreciated here.”
The daughter of Beverly and the late Joseph Pine, Sisson has two sons Andrew and Jeremy, a brother Michael Pine, four nephews and a grandson Aaron.
Known affectionately as “Weezy” by her colleagues, Sisson went to Witherbee School for kindergarten, was a member of the last class at Paradise School for first grade, Aquidneck School for second through fifth grades, Berkeley-Peckham School for sixth grade, Gaudet Middle School for seventh through ninth grade and graduated Middletown High as a member of the Class of 1982.
A numbers person, Sisson said she jumped at the chance when she was in high school of serving in the Canvassing office to make some extra money. Responsible for checking records and boxes on different documents, Sisson said she’s seen the ins and outs of many Town departments since.
Today, she’s primarily responsible for payroll and overseeing leave from the Police Department, no simple task when you’re keeping track of about 75 people. Then, she pays all the department’s bills, expunges criminal records and other duties.
“When I was making the move from Town Hall to here, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but I think it’s the best thing I ever did,” Sisson said. “Some of my best friends work here and the people in this department are so, so dedicated to making Middletown safe and a great place to be.”
Kewer said Sisson is an “invaluable member of the department” and brings so much to Middletown Police every day.
“With her tenure, she has the institutional working knowledge of both the Town and the Police Department, which overall creates a synergy for assisting in the day-to-day operations of the department,” Kewer said. “As of late, she has seen the new police officers come on board and she has seen many of the retirements as well.
“Lisa is like a mother to many of our younger police officers, who often go to her with questions and looking for advice. Lisa is also someone who has a photographic memory when it comes to numbers and birthdates. Lisa is a valuable member of the Police Department and we are fortunate that she is part of the team.”
Town Human Resources Manager Casandra Bennett said without Sisson at the Police Department, she’d be lost.
“There is never a time when she doesn't step up to get projects done, always being organized and precise from start to finish,” Bennett said. “Having her as my go-to person at the Police Department for any personnel questions or issues makes a huge difference in my ability to get things done. She is prompt and efficient and is a pleasure to work with.”
Working closely with police officers for close to three decades, Sisson said they’re some of the best people anywhere.
“When you hear how some people talk about the police, it makes me sad,” Sisson said. “They’re all people before they’re police officers and sure, are there bad apples in some departments? Yes. But not here. They’re all good people and to know how dedicated they are to their jobs and going out of their way and doing the little things that people don’t see, that’s what the Middletown Police Department is all about.”
Like for Sisson, working for the Middletown Police isn’t “just a job.”
“They care so much about doing what’s right and making a difference,” Sisson said. “I know each one of them, if I needed them, would have my back, and that’s no different for anyone else. It makes me proud to be here.”
As for the community that she grew up in, Sisson said it’s changed quite a bit.
“I miss the old Middletown,” Sisson said. “Where I grew up (off Reservoir Road where her family still lives), it was all open fields and we’d be out playing all the time. Now, it’s houses everywhere, but that’s change. That’s just how it is.”
And for those thinking about a career working for a municipality, Sisson had some advice.
“The most important thing is to get your foot in the door and who knows where it leads?” Sisson said. “Look at me. I was 15 years old when I started and I’ve done a number of things here and it’s always been a good place to work, a place that takes care of people. You’re not going to get rich doing it, but you get to make a difference.”