Success Stories

Amity LaFantano’s barrier-breaking law enforcement career began at WCSU

Amity LaFantano

Amity LaFantano

Amity LaFantano grew up in New Milford, attended New Milford High School and graduated in 1995. She began her college education as an English major intending to go to law school.

“I looked at several universities and spent my first semester at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia,” LaFantano said. “After taking an Intro to Criminal Justice class at WVU, my interest changed immediately and I decided that Law Enforcement was my new focus. WVU did not have a Criminal Justice Program at that time and Western Connecticut State University had a well-known program, so I transferred back home and enrolled at WCSU.”

In addition to her studies, LaFantano worked various full-time jobs as a student, including stints at a Carvel ice cream store, retail, waiting tables and banking, she said. “I took classes at night, or any other time I could fit them in, while supporting myself financially and paying my own way through school. It was difficult at the time, but the skills I mastered in time management and finances are invaluable and carry on into all aspects of my life and success.”

She also found time to be a cheerleader and member of the WCSU Dance Team, and went on to help coach both of those teams for several years. “My fondest memories come from my time on the Dance Team under the direction of Professor Khalda Logan,” LaFantano said. “I made lifelong friends and continue to keep dance front and center in my personal life. Khalda passed away after a battle with cancer in 2007, and several of us from the team continue to keep in touch and get together in her honor every year around the anniversary of losing her. She made a profound impact on all of us and we continue to dance in her memory.”

Several of LaFantano’s professors in the Division of Justice and Law Administration also left an impression on her. “I knew when I transferred to WCSU that I wanted to work in Law Enforcement, but I didn’t really know in what capacity,” she said. “After taking several classes with Dr Michael Foley, I decided that police officer was top on my list. At that time there were very few females in law enforcement. I was met with plenty of ridicule and judgment for wanting to be a police officer because I was a small-framed, 120-pound female who looked even younger than my actual age. Most people in my life thought I was nuts, but the teaching staff at WCSU was incredibly supportive and encouraging. Dr. Foley, Professor George Kain, Professor Marilyn Kain, and Dr. Casey Jordan all had a significant impact on my experience at WCSU and my subsequent success.”

Success is probably a bit of an understatement, because in a law enforcement career spanning more than two decades so far, LaFantano has broken many barriers. She began her career with the Newtown Police Department in December 2002. “I was assigned to the patrol division and was the only female officer in patrol at that time,” she said. “In addition to being a patrol sector car, I was a member of the Crime Prevention Unit and functioned as a liaison for the Senior Center, where I assisted in implementing the TRIAD program, which is a partnership between the senior citizen population, the business community and law enforcement. I also participated in other community policing programs such as neighborhood watch, and target hardening assessments for both residential and businesses.”

LaFantano transferred to the Danbury Police Department in December 2007, where she spent the first eight years as a patrol officer and held various special assignments along with her role as a sector car. “I was a Cadet Advisor for our Police Explorer Program, Crisis Intervention Technician, Field Training Officer, Evidence Technician, Recruitment Team Member, and Peer Support Coordinator. In October 2015, I was promoted to the rank of Patrol Sergeant, making history as the first and only female supervisor in the Danbury Police Department.”

LaFantano spent the next six years as a sergeant in patrol, functioning as a first line supervisor out in the field. In December 2021, she was promoted to the rank of Detective Sergeant and assigned to supervise the Special Victims Unit (SVU), a position she still currently holds. “The Special Victims Unit is part of a Multi-Disciplinary Team composed of Law Enforcement Agencies, The Danbury State’s Attorney Office, Department of Children and Families, The CENTER, Family and Children’s Aid, and assigned medical professionals,” she explained. “SVU investigates all cases of child abuse and sexual assaults in the city. Along with SVU, I also supervise our Crime Scene Unit, which handles the processing and evidence collection of all major crime scenes.”

Outside of work, LaFantano is an instructor for Heart 9/11, teaching Stress Management and Resilience for Law Enforcement. Asked if she’s glad she transferred to WCSU after that first semester in West Virginia, LaFantano said, “Absolutely! I had an amazing experience at WCSU. I cannot speak highly enough of the JLA program and the school community.”



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