Why She’s Interesting: Dolan is one of Northeast Ohio’s top cops. She rose from a plainclothes officer in the Cleveland Heights Police Department to become the first female SWAT officer in that city, and then a captain under the city’s first female chief, Annette Mecklenburg. Last July, Dolan broke another barrier by becoming Cleveland Metroparks’ first-ever female ranger chief.
First Cuffs: Dolan was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, but grew up in Brecksville. She fell in love with policing on the mean, mini streets of Brecksville’s Safety Town, pedaling Big Wheels with city officers. Dolan told her mother she wanted to be a police officer after a Safety Town Camp. She was 5 years old. “I never wavered. Never. I always knew what I wanted to do, and I always knew I wanted to be a police officer.”
Dirty Job: Dolan’s first assignments with Cleveland Heights were as a plainclothes officer, working drug busts and robberies. She was even once assigned to the garbage detail, where she bounced along on the trash truck, complete with a uniform disguise, to dig through bags of yuck for drug paraphernalia. “It was fun, going through the garbage — especially in the summer. Yeah, not so fun. Maggots and everything else.”
Hike Up: The Cleveland Metroparks Rangers were formally created in 1920. Over those 98 years, male chiefs led the force. “It’s empowering. I had a good role model in Chief Mecklenburg, especially because she and I literally worked side-by-side. I saw some of the trials and tribulations that she had to overcome.”
In Charge: Dolan’s 8-year-old daughter, Molly, brags to anyone who will listen about mom’s really huge, super-duper big-deal new job. “We were at the [Millstream Run] Chalet for a fall fest for her school. She told the kids there that I owned the Metroparks.”
Horsing Around: To make hay of the contributions of the Metroparks’ 90 rangers, including the iconic mounted unit, Dolan learned to ride a horse. She trotted out her new skills with a ride at the inaugural Edgewater Park Beach Ride in October. “There was 100 people in 48 hours signed up for that, and there were like 200 on the waiting list. We’re going to do it in the future. It literally felt like you’re on vacation when you get to do this.”
Happy Trails: Dolan inherited a bug for travel from her father, an international businessman who now lives in Brazil. For her 40th birthday, Dolan is planning a trip to Aruba. Also on her bucket list is a Rwandan safari to see mountain gorillas in their native habitat. “Traveling the world and seeing new things and being with different cultures is fascinating.”
Interesting Fact: 15: Number of people indicted in the 2010 case of drug dealer Phillip Hurt, after a tip from one of Dolan’s informants lead to a major federal investigation.