WASHINGTON - Naval Support Activity Washington promoted the first female to ascend through the ranks from patrol woman to captain at the United States Naval Observatory Naval District Washington Police Station, Jan. 10.
Seila M. Applin became a Police Explorer while in high school. Law Enforcement Exploring is a worksite-based program for young men and women who have completed the eighth grade but have not yet reached their 21st birthday.
She graduated high school in 1980 and in 1982 was accepted to Benedict College in Columbia, SC, where in 1986 she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. While in college, she interned at the Boys and Girls Detention Center of Columbia as a counselor. In 1989 she joined the police force at Fort Stewart, Ga., as a patrol officer. She held various police positions that included the bike unit, highway patrol and crisis response.
She reported to Naval District Washington in 1999 and was promoted to sergeant that year. As a sergeant, her duties and training included anti-terrorism, first responder, crime scene supervisor, rape crisis counselor, child abuse prevention, principles of investigations, criminal law, search and censure Forth Amendment rights and a multitude of other intense police activities.
In 2003, she attended and graduated from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Artesia, N.M. FLETC serves as an interagency law enforcement training organization for 91 Federal agencies. It also provides services to state, local, tribal, and international law enforcement agencies
Applin was promoted to lieutenant in 2006 and assumed the duties of watch commander at the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) that year. The USNO is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the United States, with a primary mission to produce positioning, navigation and timing for the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense.
The United States Naval Observatory is also home to the Vice President of the United States. Walter Mondale was the first Vice President to move into the home. It has since been home to the families of Vice Presidents Bush, Quayle, Gore and Cheney. Vice President and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden currently reside there. Naval District Washington Police and the United States Secret Service share the responsibility for protecting the residence, the grounds and its inhabitants.
In addition, Applin supervises more than 30 other police officers who have responsibility for sites throughout Washington, DC, including the Naval Support Facilities Carderock, Arlington, Washington Navy Yard and the Naval Research Laboratory.
With more than 27 years as a Federal employee, Applin has influenced a number of her peers and subordinates.
“I would not be where I am today if it were not for Lieutenant Applin,” Naval Support Activity Precinct Commander Maj. Bobby Eason said before presiding over Applin’s promotion ceremony. “She has touched countless lives on and off the force. When I worked for her as an officer and a sergeant, she suggested that I transfer to the Washington Navy Yard to get more exposure and perform more patrol duties and special assignments.”
Several of her co-workers shared Eason’s sentiment.
“Since I became a Union Chief Shop Stewart, I have worked with her since she was a sergeant to lieutenant, and now to Captain, and she has always approached all situations with an unbiased view point to find a good outcome for all sides,” said Cpl. John Beach.
Cpl. Tanya Butler has known Applin since 2000 and said, “I have not known or have had a female supervisor, so that fact in itself signifies the importance of her presence in the police department. So she has had double duty. Her guidance and influence is inspirational and I know she is going to continue fulfilling a tremendous leadership role.”
Maj. Raymond Smith has known Applin since 1998 when USNO first merged with the Naval District Washington Police Department. She was a corporal then and he has watched her ascend through the ranks. Since becoming the first female captain in the NSA-Washington organization, he solidified her expertise.
“As I stated at the ceremony, this will be an easy transition for her because as a lieutenant supervisor, she was already running four installations; Potomac Annex, NSF-Naval Observatory, NSF-Arlington, and NSF-Carderock, all areas in the Northern Precinct, Smith said. “She had already gained the respect of her subordinate officers. And supervisors actively rely on her for arduous assignments.”
But Lt. Milton Rudisell may have summarized her promotion best. “She has more than proven a hard but steady struggle in this profession may at times become tedious, but maintaining the desire to perform day-in and day-out with dedication and determination proves the fruits of one's labor may indeed be sweet. I salute a true professional,” said the Night Shift Operations Watch Commander and Police Instructor of the Naval Support Activity Washington Police Department.
Applin is engaged to Julius L. Evans and she has three children, Selah Patricia, 16, Patrick David, 21, and Seila Melissa, 25.
An interesting twist to Applin's assignment at the Naval Observatory, home of the Vice President is that published articles have uncovered the family connection between the Applin family to that of First Lady Michelle Obama.