Photography by ChiChi Ubiña
Greenwich Police Detective, GA Volleyball Coach, Mother of Two, Masters Degree Candidate
Greenwich police detective Christy Girard packs more into a day than most people. Work, family, sports, giving back to the community, AND she’s also studying for her Master’s degree in Public Administration. Christy came to Greenwich from the NYPD. “When I left NYPD, it was because I felt like I could make a difference here and Greenwich could make a difference in me. I have never felt more a part of my community than I do in Greenwich.”
Girard is a detective in the special victim’s section, assigned to the cold case squad investigating homicides. “My husband and I both love our jobs in law enforcement, and we love being parents too. The Greenwich Police Department allows us to be both.”
Girard is also the volleyball coach at Greenwich Academy. “I knew I wanted to be a police officer since middle school. I loved athletics also. In high school, sports were my absolute everything. I thought that I would either be a police officer or a physical education teacher. Now I have both!” Girard’s community involvement includes serving on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. “If anyone spent a single day there, they would understand what an incredible club it is.” As she reflects on maintaining such a busy schedule, Girard says, “The one thing that I have no doubt about is that I am right where I am supposed to be in this world. I found my place in this universe and I like it.”
I was born on a farm in Ohio, then moved to Connecticut in Kindergarten. I grew up in Naugatuck, CT.
Where did you go to school?
I went to public schools in Naugatuck, CT; I went to the University of New Haven for their Criminal Justice Program for undergraduate and to play volleyball (the best sport on earth!). I am almost done with my Master’s degree in Public Administration at Post University
Tell about how you got into your job – both law enforcement and GA volley ball.
I knew I wanted to be a police officer since probably middle school. I loved athletics and playing football with my dad probably was my start of playing football with the boys my age and loving that I was one of the few girls in that crowd. The boys were just a part of my adolescence as my few girlfriends, so I guess I felt comfortable in that group. I liked the challenge that most girls did not take and think that is where it all really started. In high school, sports were my absolute everything. I lost my parents young and the coaches were my constant support. I then thought that I would either be a police officer or a physical education teacher. Now I have both! When I came to Greenwich, the town welcomed me from the very beginning. Everything from church, to the restaurant and store owners, to the schools and other parents in my children’s school. They are all my community. I have never felt more a part of my community than I do here in Greenwich. When I left NYPD, it was because I felt like I could make a difference here and here in Greenwich could make a difference in me. It may sound silly to some, but it is my drive. I cannot turn my back when I there is anyone or any project in need. It certainly keeps me busy, but it is who I have become.
One day I was watching my neighbor play a tennis game at Greenwich Academy and started talking to the coach. I told her how much I admired her and her job and if I could ever give back to the community, it would be through coaching. She asked what sport I would coach, I told her without a doubt, volleyball. She said, funny because GA is looking for a volleyball coach. That was in 2001, I have been there ever since. The girls there challenge me just as much as I challenge them. I expect no less from them to be the best that they can be and then, well, that’s not good enough, it’s up to them, each one of them, to be even better. It’s my job to bring it out of them; volleyball, yes of course, but I do not end there. I want challenge them, to teach them how to be better family members, better leaders, to one day be better co-workers, to one day be better spouses, better moms, better community members. How can I send that message without at least trying to do the same. Here I am, back in school to get a higher degree, they also watch me in my career, me as a mother because my children are ALWAYS right by me, and as a wife because “Mr. Coach” is right along there too.
The one thing that I have no doubt, I am right where I am supposed to be in this world. I found my place in this universe and I like it.
Describe your job
I am a detective in the special victim’s section. I am assigned to the cold case squad investigating cold case homicides. I take homicide cases that are on average 30 years old and try to find that missing piece that slipped through the cracks, or simply the information that was not available at the time; maybe a person who never spoke up at the time or new forensic evidence that the previous detectives did not have at the time. My favorite part is turning over a rock that someone did not and interrogations. I also teach officers in the state how to investigate sex assault investigations since that was my specialty for a while. I still have some of those cases sprinkled in to my caseload, and sometimes an arson investigation. I still do a lot of public speaking for parents. I have learned a lot from investigating juvenile incidents both as victims and as suspects. The lessons parents have spoken about are a big piece of my speaking engagements.
What’s it like raising two kids and both you and your husband being in law enforcement?
Great question… think that is the best part about the combination. The Greenwich Police Department allows me to be the best detective I can be while still being a mom. I do not think most police departments are like that. We always exchanged the children at headquarters when they were babies; one going into work, one coming out. That way we raised our children together. We had a terrific babysitter for the times that we could not juggle ourselves and thank God she was always available literally 24 hours a day and lived in town. Otherwise, we would not have been able to do it. My husband and I both love our jobs, we love being parents too and GPD allows us to be both.
#1 on my list, is family dinners. From cooking with them all to even the talking during clean up, the singing we all love to do and then family movie night every weekend. I love to play volleyball; beach, grass and court ball still. I love to play volleyball with my kids! I love to run, cook and read. The ladies in my book club are my breath of fresh air.
Charitable causes? Boys and Girls Club – other causes you work with.
I am privileged to serve on the board at the Boys and Girls Club. If anyone spent a single day there, they would understand what an incredible club it is. On an average day there are three hundred boys and girls playing almost every sport, getting their homework done with tutors, eating a healthy snack, making crafts, enjoying computers and video games, reading in the library and most of all being supervised and mentored by a loving and caring staff. I understand the long hours parents have to work and the alternative of kids not being engaged or watched after school while their parents are making ends meet. There are many families in this town who hire help with their children after school, many of those hired to help also have children so we are lucky this town has the Boys and Girls Club to be there for them.
I also want to be there for my children’s schools as much as possible. I believe in a community approach. They are not only there for academics, but also to be that extension of us to guide them about integrity and character; something that is of an utmost importance to us. We are grateful for our children being at their schools so we are always there to assist in any way our schedules permit.
Christy’s typical day:
5:50 A.M. I’m the first up in the house to get myself ready. Many days I need three outfits and gear: uniform, outside wear and boots for directing traffic at my kids’ schools before my regular shift; suit clothes for detective work; and coaching gear for the last job of the day.
6:30 A.M. I make a full breakfast for my family before they start their day. I love to cook and insist on healthy meals.
7:05 A.M. All hands on deck. The kids help me get all my gear into the car as I finish the breakfast clean up.
7:10 A.M. Off to the bus stop and then I get to directing traffic at one of the schools for their start of their school day.
8:00 A.M. Work at the PD reading through the last 24 hours of calls and reports. On current cases I go out to a scene, interview, find witnesses, and then do the reports to document it all. Cold cases – I take homicide cases that are on average 30 years old. I review hundreds of reports trying to fit pieces together, close open loopholes, or find a missing piece that slipped through the cracks – like a person who never spoke up at the time – or new forensic evidence not available at the time. My favorite part is turning over a rock that someone did not and interrogations.
I also teach officers in the state how to investigate sex assault investigations since that was my specialty for a while. I still do a lot of public speaking for parents. I have learned a lot from investigating juvenile incidents both as victims and as suspects. The lessons parents have spoken about are a big piece of my speaking engagements.
4:00 P.M. I coach 6 days a week in the fall, 3 days a week the rest of the year. I was watching my neighbor play tennis at Greenwich Academy and started talking to the coach. She asked what sport I would coach; I told her without a doubt, volleyball. She said, funny because GA is looking for a volleyball coach. That was in 2001, and I have been there ever since. In the off season, I coach at Evergreen Volleyball Academy with Dina Ding, a former player on the Chinese Olympic team.
6:00 P.M. My husband brings the kids to me at practice most days so that we can play volleyball together after the team leaves. I would never be able to juggle this all without my husband, that is for sure. He does most of the grocery shopping, drives the kids everywhere, and cooks dinners too.
After 7:00 P.M. We make dinner and eat as family almost every single night.
8:00 P.M. I help the kids finish their homework and then…
9:00 P.M. We tuck them into bed and I start my homework for my masters. I want to challenge kids and teach them how to be better family members, better leaders, and better community members. How can I send that message without at least trying to do the same? Here I am, back in school to get a higher degree.
11:00 P.M. I’m in bed. My husband and children are COMPLETELY team players in this game we call life! We are blessed to be a very close, affectionate and loving family.