Woman named Newburyport police inspector

Newburyport police Officer Dani Sinclair was recently promoted to inspector.DAVE ROGERS/Staff photo

NEWBURYPORT – Dani Sinclair, the first woman promoted to inspector in the Police Department, worked her first shift last week, joining veteran Inspectors Chris McDonald and Michael Sugrue. 

Sinclair’s promotion, which became official July 1, came 13 years after she joined the department as a patrol officer and in a way, it’s a natural segue for her career, she said Wednesday. 

While she won’t be patrolling the streets in a black-and-white or responding to walk-ins at the station, Sinclair will continue her work as the department’s lead investigator for the sexual assault unit and in her role with the Essex County Outreach opiate abuse program. The inspector position is the same as what some police departments call detectives. 

“I’m still looking forward to doing more good police work, but now I’ll have more flexibility and leeway to get things done,” she said. 

Each inspector has duties beyond investigating large-scale crimes and protecting the community from internet scams and hacks. McDonald serves as the department’s liaison with Newburyport District Court while Sugrue specializes in property loss and credit card-related crimes. Inspectors are overseen by Lt. Matthew Simons. 

Sinclair, who graduated from Triton Regional High School and Northeastern University, will work the day shift Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. She and the other inspectors are on call around the clock should something major occur.

Of the 32 police officers in the department, Sinclair is one of three women – the other two being Officers Tori Smith and Megan Tierney. Sinclair’s old position will be filled sometime this fiscal year, which began July 1, said City Marshal Mark Murray. 

“Dani is a long-standing member of our department who is extremely deserving of this promotion,” Murray said. “She brings a wealth of knowledge, training and experience to the detectives division that will benefit the entire city of Newburyport.”

Sinclair joined the department as a reserve officer in 2005, moving into a full-time position in 2006. Prior to joining the Newburyport police force, she served as a dispatcher and reserve police officer for the Newbury Police Department.

In her 13 years with the Newburyport department, Sinclair has taken on a variety of roles, including field training officer, Rape Aggression Defense — or R.A.D.— instructor, and CPR and first aid instructor. 

Sinclair said she will take several training courses already completed by fellow inspectors.

Still, as the department’s sexual assault unit leader, she has years of experience reaching out to victims via phone calls and email. Doing all that while also patrolling was always a challenge, she said. 

When asked about being named the department’s first female inspector, Sinclair had little to say. 

“I don’t look at it differently. I always felt like one of the guys,” she said. “But I am excited and thrilled for the new position.” 

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached by email at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter:@drogers41008.