In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are profiles of some of the most influential women in Round Rock Police Department history.
Rose “Dusty” Gilliam was the first female officer at RRPD. She was hired after being the top qualifier and president of her academy class in 1978 at San Antonio College. She was a Justice of the Peace in Humble, Texas and worked in corrections and court security before joining RRPD. She was sworn in in April 1980 and she was named the Department’s first juvenile officer. In 1982, she was elected to Williamson County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace. This photo from the Round Rock Leader shows Round Rock Police Chief Gene Collier pinning the badge on Officer Gilliam in 1980.
Joanne Land served stints as Round Rock City Secretary, Tax Assessor, and Assistant City Manager from 1970 to 2002, during which Round Rock grew from less than 3,000 people to more than 60,000. While serving as Secretary, she pulled double duty from 1998 to 1999 as Interim Police Commissioner, the only non-sworn officer to ever lead the RRPD. Her father, Henry Matysek, served as Williamson County Sheriff from 1954 to 1974. She was named a “Local Legend” by the Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission in 1994 and the City named a playground after her in Old Settlers Park in 2017. She currently serves on the Williamson County Board of Health.
Mary Ryle started with the Department in 1981, and her 21-year career with RRPD included a stint as Detective working multiple child abuse and murder cases. In 1994, she was one of the lead investigators who identified and arrested Roger Fain, who would eventually be convicted of two murders and a suspected in a third. She worked her way up the ranks to Lieutenant, becoming the highest-ranking female officer in the Department’s history at the time. She retired in 2002.
Melissa Grubbs was promoted to Commander on January 6, 2020, becoming the highest-ranking female officer in Department history. She currently oversees the Special Operations Division, which includes the Traffic Unit, School Resource Officers, Victim Services, and the Crisis Intervention Team. Since joining the Department in 2003, she has served in many roles, such as Crisis Negotiator, Narcotics Sergeant, and Patrol Lieutenant. In her spare time, she competes in mountain bike races.
Misty Price joined the Department in 1997. Shortly after that, she became the first female member of the RRPD SWAT Team. She served as the team’s medic. She remembers annual, intensive SWAT training at Fort Hood, where the team trained at all hours of the day in various scenarios and conditions. As a result, she felt prepared for anything.
While at RRPD, she also served as a Narcotics Detective and as the Department’s liaison to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. She left the Department in 2002 to work full time for the federal government, mostly as a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security. She spent four years in Abu Dhabi and is currently stationed in Hawaii.
The thing she misses most from her time in Round Rock is the comradery. She learned many lessons from here that she has carried with her throughout her law enforcement career, such as the value of teamwork, the importance of preparation, and the ability to learn on the fly.