Rambissoon was an administrator under three different Winter Garden police chiefs.
Ruth Rambissoon was 28 when she was hired as the Winter Garden Police Department’s executive assistant to the chief of police, at the time Jimmie Yawn. Thirty years later, she says it’s time to say goodbye to her longtime position.
Rambissoon’s first day on the job was the day before Halloween in 1989. Her last will be Thursday, Dec. 12.
She has worked under three police chiefs in her three-decade career: Yawn, until 2004; George Brennan, from 2004 to 2018; and the current chief, Steve Graham.
With the police department located in the heart of downtown — in several different buildings within the same city block — Rambissoon has had a vantage point that allowed her to watch the city and its police force flourish through the years. She has seen downtown Winter Garden’s transformation from a sleepy railroad town to a thriving city.
When she accepted her position 30 years ago, the police station was in the building to the north of the current one, she worked on an IBM Selectric typewriter and the department had 42 sworn officers; today, there are 90.
She said some of her most memorable moments on the job were with her coworkers: “The camaraderie; how everyone is so nice and respectful,” Rambissoon said. “Just like a family. It’s always been that way. I’ve always loved these guys just like brothers and sisters. I pray for their safety. I’ve watched officers get married, I’ve watched kids come in, I’ve watched them grow up. … you go through life with them.”
Many of the officers rose through the ranks during Rambissoon’s tenure. And while some officers spent a short time with the department before moving on to other municipalities, others such as Capt. Scott Allen stayed, garnered promotions and, in Allen’s case, progressed to a senior position at the WGPD.
“Ruth has been the chief’s administrative assistant since the day I was hired and has had a significant involvement in all areas of the department,” Allen, administrative services commander, said. “Ruth was the one who reached out to me and offered me my job 23-and-a-half years ago. Since being promoted to an administrative position in 2013, our positions work together more than ever. Ruth is very caring, very organized and truly cares about the people she works with.”
Besides her office responsibilities, Rambissoon involved herself in multiple community programs associated with the WGPD. The department’s annual holiday toy drive was staged for years in the former West Orange Youth Center building, which now is part of the police department.
She said she has enjoyed shopping for toys, packing the bags and registering the families who benefited from the Holiday Gifts for Kids program.
“It was a community service, and I enjoyed helping other people,” Rambissoon said. “I enjoyed seeing other people getting helped during the holiday season and feeling good that the police department was making sure the kids had gifts on Christmas morning.”
When the WGPD Police Athletic League started in 2011, Rambissoon was treasurer.
She and Allen worked together with the PAL program too.
“We both volunteered for the Winter Garden Police Athletic League, where Ruth volunteered a lot of time towards our program to make sure we had the ability to provide programs that assisted our community,” Allen said.
Her caring nature and organizational skills were assets on the job, no matter which chief she was working under.
“With Jimmie, if I was at my desk, that’s all I needed to do,” she said. “I used to ask for jobs from all over the (department and) ask the detectives if I can type something.”
As the department evolved and grew, so did Rambissoon’s responsibilities, especially once Brennan became chief.
“With Graham, I don’t want to leave,” she said. “He’s wonderful. He’s the best one I’ve worked for.”
But she has seven good reasons for leaving — her two children and her five grandchildren, who range in age from 2 to 8. Rambissoon is moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, to be closer to her family.
Scott always will be grateful for her guidance and attention to detail.
“She was a person that could be counted on, that you knew would be there if you needed her and would get the job done,” Allen said. “Ruth did a lot for our organization, and she is going to be a hard person to replace.”