Whitehouse Sgt. Amanda Bradley Retires From Law Enforcement

Amanda Bradley

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — After 22 years as a police officer, Amanda Bradley has put away her pink handcuffs and turned in her badge, but she’s not giving up her mission of helping people.

Bradley, who retired from the Whitehouse Police Department on May 22, is now helping women recover from addiction and mental health issues as director of residential services for Talbot Health Services.

“I’ve had a really good career and I’m very fortunate for all the opportunities I’ve had,” said Bradley, who will receive her retirement badge later this summer.

A Sylvania Southview graduate, Bradley surprised her family by choosing to become a police officer instead of following her mom into nursing or joining her dad’s business.

“I like adrenaline rushes and I figured I’d get to see what’s going on and help people out,” she recalled of her decision. “Law enforcement sounded like fun.”

In August 2000, she graduated from the police academy and worked part time for Whitehouse and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority before the village hired her full time in May 2005.

During her tenure with Whitehouse, Bradley has organized Safety Town, served as a school resource officer at the high school and worked 12-hour shifts responding to all types of calls and constantly training. Last year, a video of Bradley challenging officer Addison White to do five pushups for each donated toy launched a competition between the police and fire departments and benefited Toys for Tots. The competition resulted in White owing thousands of pushups and over 2,000 toys donated. 

While she jokes that many stories from her tenure are inappropriate to share, she does have specific ones that will always stick with her, especially hard moments that others would shy away from.

“I was with a mom as she watched her son die. I did CPR until the fire department came in. She wouldn’t leave the room, so I stood there and held her hand to say, ‘Mother to mother, I’ve got you.’ I’d like to think I helped make a bad situation a little less worse,” she said.

The pink handcuffs that she used inspired one mom whose son quit drinking after Bradley arrested him for DUI.

“A few years later, she told me that she got him a set of pink handcuffs to remind him of the consequences of not staying sober,” Bradley said. “Some-times, it’s the little things that people remember years later.”

While working as a police officer, Bradley was also busy volunteering in the community, leading the Spring Green Educational Foundation’s Youth Diversion Program for 10 years.

“Working with kids, you can be authentic and goofy. You can get down on their level and have fun but still impact some change and hopefully help them make better choices,” she said.

It was her work with youths that prompted Bradley to rethink her career choices and speak with a counselor in July 2020. That counselor asked, “If you could be in a different career tomorrow, what would you do?”

Bradley decided that she wanted to be a counselor, so the next week she enrolled in Walden University’s online program to earn her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling while working 12-hour shifts. The degree required 600 hours of internship within 23 weeks, including 240 hours of direct contact with clients. Yet when she looked for an internship, she couldn’t find one working with youths that would offer enough hours, so she called Matt Rizzo, director of Talbot Health Services, who she knew from volunteering with Awake Community Coalition.

He offered an opportunity to work with Talbot’s women’s residential program on Toledo’s East Side and soon Bradley was hooked.

“I loved it. It felt right. I loved working with residential clients. I felt like I was making a difference. And when I was done, I was offered a full-time position,” she said.

Addiction treatment has its stigma, she admitted. Often underlying the addiction is a mental health issue that has been untreated. Additionally, Bradley estimates that 80 to 90 percent of her clients have experienced some type of trauma.

“One of the biggest hurdles is getting them to understand that this is a disease. This is not something you choose to be,” she said. “They’re mothers, they’re daughters, they’re sisters. They’re wonderful people.”

With her experience in law enforcement, she’s able to guide her clients through the court system, such as explaining why an offense may or may not be chargeable and what to expect during a court proceeding.

“When I told the ladies that I was a police officer, I thought they might have some barriers about telling me things even though it’s confidential. They all thought it was very cool,” she said.

While her goal initially was to work with children, Bradley sees how her role will help kids.

“I’m helping moms become healthier. By helping the moms, I’m helping the kids,” she said.

After 22 years of getting up at 4:30 a.m. or working midnights and weekends, Bradley is helping her family as well: She’ll be able to spend evenings and weekends with her husband, Randy, and see her adult sons, Kyle and Ethan.

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