Women Have Contributed to Law Enforcement for More than a Century

In my crime fiction Emily Stone Thriller Series, the main character is an ex-police officer where she had to go toe to toe with a male dominated profession.  Certain situations (don’t want to give away any spoilers) dictated that she had to quit her post, but she more than made up for it being a stealthy, vigilante detective hunting down serial killers and anonymously emailing the information to the local detectives in charge of the cases.

In 1811, Francois Vidocq actually gave women their first show at police work when he employed them as paid undercover operatives.  Also around the same time in Paris, Edmond Locard was establishing the first private crime lab.  It is his principle (Locard Exchange Principle) that crime scene investigation uses today where with any contact between two items, there will be an exchange.

“In 1845, six women were hired by the New York City Police Department. At that time they were called police matrons and their job was to monitor and assist with minors and women inmates. After an assault took place on a young female prisoner 1891, it was determined that women and men inmates should be housed separately and matrons became a more important role. In 1908, the first female police officer, Lola Baldwin, was hired to carry out standard law enforcement duties. In 1910, Alice Wells was also hired by the LAPD. By 1912, Isabella Goodwin was the first woman to make Detective and in 1917, additional women were allowed to make arrests and carry out the same duties as their male counterparts.”  Source (NYPD website & unusualhistoricals.com)

1846 – Six women were hired by the NYPD as police matrons

1908 – First Female “Police Officer” – Lola Baldwin

1910 – Alice Wells was hired by LAPD

1912 – First female to make Detective – Isabella Goodwin

1915 – International Association of Police Women was formed

1918 – First female Homicide Detective – Mary Sullivan

1919 – First African-American Woman in NYPD – Cora Parchment

1968 – First Female Patrol Officer

1985 – First female Police Chief – Penny Harrington in Portland, Oregon

In the early 1970s, there were less than 1% women police officers in the United States.  Now, the average is about 15-20% of women police officers working today.  Working as a police officer is not doubt a demanding occupation both physically and mentally for any gender; however, women have had extra obstacles to overcome in this male dominated profession.

Interestingly, it has been stated that women make strong police officers, due to the fact they generally have excellent verbal and reasoning skills.  It helps to make up for the lack of brute strength in many situations.

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Emily Stone has a tough act to follow with some impressive female police officers in history, but she manages to hunt down the serial killers and child abductors using her previous law enforcement experience, criminal profiling techniques, and solid forensic skills covertly.

Find out what Emily Stone is up to and ride along with a modern-day vigilante detective in Dark Mind.

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Author Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/
Crime Watch Blog: http://emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase
Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind  Silent Partner  Screenwriting

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Comment by Jennifer Chase on July 26, 2012 at 9:11am

Thanks Andy!  Appreciate your comments!  Not all police officers view women in the same light as a "police officer".  Also, my hat is off to you (and all police officers) in the UK without the assistance of a firearm.  Close quarters and a suspect with a knife is very dangerous.  Thanks for sharing. 

Comment by Andy M Brown on July 26, 2012 at 9:05am

You know what, I never realy think about female Police Officers and their history. Last night I attended an assistance shout where a young female cop who I've known since her probabtion was facing an exceptionally large and violent, punch swinging male in the confines of a, knife ladened kitchen and for the first time in her short Police career this Officer used her spray (we don't have guns in the UK, yet!) and ended up wrestling this large idiot to the ground where, despite choking on spray herself she managed to cuff him. Okay, that's what the job, her colleagues and the Officer herself expects but in the immediate aftermath she had the presents of mind to use her comms, account for everyone and basically continue to function..here's the point, I've been to loads of similar situations and, after the adrenaline rush comes the adrenalline dump and, it doesn't matter if you're used to it, two foot six or eight feet nine with a black belt in muscles the adrenaline usually means you're at the very least shaking or, more usually crying uncotroallably. As we dragged this idiot in to the van I asked her if she was alright, yes she replied but why wouldn't she be? Hope that makes some sort of sense.

Comment by Benjamin Sobieck on June 30, 2012 at 4:58am

I like that you have Emily going rouge a lot of the time. Working outside the system. It amplifies her character from the female cop in a male department (which since "Silence of the Lambs" has ironically grown into a pigeonhole of its own) to a "I don't care how I'm going to do it, I'm going to kick some ass" kind of person.

This frees her to beat the snot out of pedos, which is always a hit with the readers.

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