30 Years Later, Chief Casts Her Spell
On a chilly December evening in1987, Stephanie Spell reported for duty as a Collier County Sheriff ’s Office dispatcher. She worked 12-hour shifts as the calm and reassuring voice for those who dialed 911 when chaos hit.
It was a job that seemed overwhelming at first, and the responsibility of being the first point of contact for callers in the midst of an emergency was significant. But she grew to love it. Before long she developed a deep connection to both the agency and the community.
Over the years she rose through the ranks and ultimately achieved the highest level possible. As a member of Sheriff Kevin Rambosk’s executive command staff she serves as the agency’s Chief of Community Engagement.
“Chief Spell is an outstanding leader and public safety professional,” said Sheriff Rambosk. “She has been instrumental in furthering our agency’s philosophy of community, safety, service and service to others before self. She establishes and develops the partnerships that bring us together with our community.”
Chief Spell oversees Media Relations, Crime Prevention, Crime Analysis, Planning and Research, Victim Advocate, Senior Services, Minority Affairs and Volunteers.
She is also active in the community. She is president of the board of directors for Youth Haven and outgoing chair for Collier Child Care Resources. She is a board member for the United Way, Leadership Collier Foundation and the League of Courageous Women. She also serves on the Florida Bar Grievance Committee.
Cyndee Woolley is a Naples-based public relations professional, author and owner of C2 Communications. Over the past decade, Woolley and Chief Spell have served the community together through civic, political and professional organizations.
“Chief Spell is one of the most authentic women I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know,” Woolley said. “ I admire her as a courageous leader who has helped shape our community, as a dedicated mother and Jammi (grandmother) who has taken her family on wild adventures, as well as a friend and mentor that has inspired me to grow.”
Amanda Beights is vice president of the Leadership Collier Foundation. Chief Spell graduated from the program in 2010 and has remained involved with it ever since. Beights said Chief Spell’s contributions to the program are significant.“Chief Spell has set the standard for what the Leadership Collier™ program has become today,” Beights said. “Her passion for developing leadership is palpable, and we are incredibly fortunate to have her on our Leadership Collier Foundation Board. Our program isn’t complete unless we have Chief Spell’s sage words of wisdom each year as she is a true model of everything Leadership Collier represents.”
Chief Spell earned a bachelor’s degree in public safety management and a master’s degree in administration from Barry University. In addition to being a Leadership Collier graduate, she is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy’s Florida Executive Development Seminar and Leadership Florida.
In 2013 she was named one of Florida Weekly’s Women in Power. In her free time she enjoys fly fishing, skeet shooting and adventure travel. Thirty years after she first reported for duty, Chief Spell continues to be a calm and reassuring presence. She was the ‘voice’ behind the popular “Reality Check” posts after Hurricane Irma on the agency’s Facebook page.
“In a style that was decidedly atypical for anything coming from a public office, post-Irma reality checks provided important information that was succinct and peppered with a good dose of common sense so that people would know exactly what to do. They would also know they were cared about.”
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