The Incorporated Village of Hempstead

Pregnancy doesn't stop call to duty
Published: August 31, 2011 8:34 PM

Photo credit: Steven Sunshine | Hempstead Village police officer Mandi Smith, entering her ninth month of pregnancy, volunteered to work long hours during what should have been time off as Tropical Storm Irene came on shore. (Aug. 31, 2011)

Like many emergency responders around Long IslandHempsteadVillage police officer Mandi Smith volunteered to work long hours during what should have been time off as Tropical Storm Irene came on shore.

The fact that she was entering her ninth month of pregnancy didn't stop her from spending 17 hours working emergency dispatch so other more mobile officers could be on the street or in the water helping residents, including when a tornado warning was issued for the village.

Despite worrying about her safety and that of her baby during the storm, Smith, 31, worked Sunday from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. answering calls.

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"I don't use my pregnancy as an excuse for anything," Smith said. "I tell people, 'I am pregnant, not handicapped.' "

Smith, who has been on the force since March 2005, said she assisted with 911 emergency and 311 nonemergency calls, answering about 60 throughout the day. The most memorable call was from a 90-year-old woman who lived alone, she said.

"She kept calling saying, 'don't forget about me,' " said Smith, who is due to give birth to a boy on Sept. 30. "I felt bad. I wished I could have picked her up and taken her with us."

Village Police Chief Joseph B. Wing said the department is proud of Smith for her dedication on a weekend when call volume increased at least 30 percent.

"Despite being pregnant, she was able to get to work early and stayed late," Wing said.

Even though Smith felt safe in the police station, she would rather have been with her daughter Savannah, 3, and her husband Reginald, she said.

"My husband couldn't believe that I was going to work, but he knew that I signed up for this and I had to report to work," said Smith, whose Hempstead Village home has been without electricity since Sunday at 8 p.m. "I can't wait to tell my son what we been through . . . an earthquake and a hurricane."

She plans to name her son Jayden Elijah.