Some have dubbed 2018 “The Year of the Woman,” and in Carroll County, there were certainly a few women who broke barriers this year.
In the November elections, Maria Oesterreicher won election to the bench of the Circuit Court of Carroll County, becoming the first female judge in the court’s 180-year history.
Back in February, Lt. Rebecca Bosley became the first female commander of the Westminster barrack of the Maryland State Police.
In a spring interview, Bosley downplayed the achievement to herself, but said she understood that it was a big deal to others.
“As far as significance, it is not significant to me,” Bosley said. “However, I do understand that it may be significant for other people, and it is important to have role models, so I understand that it is important to show a younger generation that having a leadership position and being female is possible.”
At her investiture in December, Oesterreicher said she had never considered herself a feminist and had not planned on addressing the fact she would be the first woman to serve on Carroll’s Circuit Court strongly because she figured others would be tired of hearing about it.
She changed her mind when others reached out to her about how important it was for their daughters to see and meet successful women.
She quoted former Democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton, the first woman to earn a major party’s nomination for the presidency, who said, “To all the little girls watching ... never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.”
Oesterreicher joined the State’s Attorney’s Office in 2001 after three years in private practice. She served as a senior assistant state’s attorney for 14 years before returning to private practice in family and criminal defense law, and working at the Maryland Department of Human Services.
She first caught the law bug in a high school civics class where she took the role of an attorney in a civil case.
“I loved studying the statutes and the laws, and the fact patterns and specifically being able to argue both sides of it depending on how I was interpreting the law,” Oesterreicher said in an interview with the Times.
The precise moment she decided to seek the role of a judge isn’t clear, but she said, “I love being in the courtroom. I practiced prosecution and criminal defense, and I’ve been on both sides of civil cases.” Being a judge, “Was the next logical step in my career, but it allowed me to remain in public service, and serve my community and utilize my strengths all at the same time.”
Bosley began her career at the Westminster barrack, where she worked until 2008, when she was promoted and transferred to Frederick. She returned to Westminster as a corporal and was named Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for the barrack in 2010. But then she was on the move again, promoted to sergeant and transferred to Howard County, where she was the NCO of the Year for the Waterloo Barrack in 2012. She was then selected to command the newly developed DUI enforcement team known as State Police Impaired Driving Effort (SPIDRE), and commanded that unit until she was promoted to first sergeant and transferred to the Rockville barrack.
Bosley was promoted to lieutenant in January 2017 and took command of the Motor Vehicle Division. Then, in February, she was sent back to where she began, as commander of the Westminster barrack.
“Lt. Bosley has an outstanding work ethic, upholds and demands a high standard of integrity, is extremely reliable and she wants to ensure the Westminster Barrack provides the best law enforcement service in Carroll County,” said Capt. Shawn Ward, commander of the Central Troop of MSP via email.
Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees, a former commander of the Westminster Barrack, said having Bosley in the command position has further enhanced the relationship between their two agencies.
Bosley attends weekly meetings with the command staff of the Sheriff’s Office, allowing the agencies to “gather our resources and fight the same issues,” DeWees said. Bosley is familiar with much of his command staff.