First Responders Spotlight: Female trailblazer looks back on 40 years of service to region

First Responders Spotlight

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Manning the desk at the 311 center in the public safety building is a woman who has over 40 years of service as a first responder in the region. Laurie Kingsley Henry got her start with the North Greece Fire Department as a teenager, eventually becoming a lieutenant.

“Then I came to the city and joined the protectives, meanwhile I also got involved with the police department here in the city,” she says.

In the early 1990s, Kingsley was one of the few female officers in Rochester, working various sections. “The people in the city are absolutely awesome, I met a lot of people, I still talk to a lot of people, I retired in 2007,” says Kingsley.

After retiring from the Rochester Police Department, Kingsley was later hired as a 311 operator at the center, helping residents who phone for non-emergency assistance. Kingsley still works part time with the RPD, and volunteers with their “Do the Right Thing” award program.

Her supervisor Sgt. Justin Collins says Kingsley isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. “She just amazes me, the passion and energy she has at 40 years. It just amazes me. And she just truly cares so much,” says Sgt. Collins.

Glenn Beard worked with Kingsley for two years on a mounted patrol in the city. He works alongside her again here. “Laurie’s just the best, she’s always cares about what she’s doing,” says Beard.

When Kingsley first started off as a firefighter and later a police officer, the field had very few females in the ranks. Those here say Kingsley was a local trailblazer to give women more opportunities as first responders. 

“It’s just nice to see that there are so many more women. It’s nice to see the whole field has just opened up,” says Kingsley.

The treats from Dunkin’, a welcome surprise, but Kingsley says that’s not why she does the job. 

“Just knowing that you helped somebody. They don’t even have to come back and tell you ‘thank you’, but you know in your heart you helped. You made a difference,” she says.

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