New Farms public safety officer is familiar face — and voice — in community

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 18, 2024

 Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety Sgt. Timothy Harris pins the badge on the uniform of his wife, Paige Thomas, after she’s sworn in as a Farms Public Safety officer.

Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety Sgt. Timothy Harris pins the badge on the uniform of his wife, Paige Thomas, after she’s sworn in as a Farms Public Safety officer.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — From the time she was a little girl, Paige Thomas dreamed of becoming a police officer.

The road to her dream has had more than a few bumps and potholes, but she’s finally achieved it. Thomas, 29, a former emergency dispatcher in Grosse Pointe Farms, was sworn in as the department’s newest public safety officer by City Clerk Derrick Kozicki May 15.

“Growing up, I always wanted to meet the police and go into law enforcement,” Thomas said.

She started working as an ordinance officer in Grosse Pointe Park in 2014, when she was just 19, and became a dispatcher in the Farms in 2018. When the department personnel underwent mental health training so they’d know how to respond to someone they encountered who was experiencing a mental health crisis, it opened Thomas’ eyes to a side of police work where she could see herself making a positive difference.

“I really like that side of law enforcement,” Thomas said. “I think it’s really important.”

Mental health issues often get swept under the rug, especially when it comes to members of law enforcement, Thomas said.

“If there’s something I can do later on in my career helping the people I work with, that’s what I want to do,” Thomas said.

She has an associate degree in pre-psychology from Macomb Community College and plans to get at least her bachelor’s degree — and possibly a graduate degree — in that subject.

The Farms was eager to hire Thomas as a public safety officer, after seeing her work ethic and drive as a dispatcher.

“She’s a solid employee,” Deputy Public Safety Director Andrew Rogers said. “We can’t be prouder to have her join the PSO ranks. There’s not a doubt in my mind she’ll be successful.”

Thomas’ daughter, Becca, will turn 4 in November. Despite her lifelong desire to become a police officer, she debated about whether she should stay in dispatching.

“For a while there, I battled with what I wanted to do,” said Thomas, who wasn’t sure if she should go on the road as a public safety officer.

But then, while working full-time and juggling motherhood, she completed her associate degree sooner than expected and realized she could do it. Going part-time as a dispatcher, Thomas finished the Macomb Community College Fire Academy circa November 2023 and graduated from the MCC Police Academy May 10.

Family, Farms officials and fellow officers were among those on hand to see Thomas take the oath of office. Among them was her father, Patrick “Nino” Thomas, who’s also a familiar face in the community: He’s the retired superintendent of public works in Grosse Pointe Park and now works as the supervisor of water and sewer in Grosse Pointe City. He’s proud of his daughter, but admitted he was apprehensive about her going into police work because of the dangers of the job.

“I never thought she’d become a police officer,” Patrick Thomas said. “I was kind of against it when I first heard about it. … But she’s surrounded by a lot of good officers.”

They include her husband, Farms Public Safety Sgt. Tim Harris, who has been with the department since June 2006. The couple met at work and got married in August 2023.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Harris said. “Since I’ve met her, this has been a dream of hers.”

He’s been impressed by Thomas’ strength and drive, even in the face of obstacles, including a health challenge and surgery to correct it.

“I couldn’t be prouder of her,” Harris said. “This is something she’s wanted as long as I’ve known her.”

The couple are raising Harris’ teenage sons from a previous marriage, along with their young daughter. Because Harris is a supervisor, he and Thomas won’t be scheduled on the same shift.

Like Rogers, Harris is confident Thomas will make a great public safety officer.

“I’m excited to see where she goes with her career,” Harris said. “I know the type of person she is and how passionate she is. She’s invested in this community.”