Women's History Month
In honor of Women's History Month, Tactically Suited will be presenting a woman each day who has been pivotal to law enforcement or has given the greatest sacrifice. Women have been central to the success of law enforcement in the past, present, and will continue to be in the future. We at Tactically Suited would like to honor and salute every woman out there that has, is, or will wear the badge. Be safe out there sisters.
March 31st – Adrianna Vorderbruggen
U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations – 2002 – 2015
End of Watch – December 21, 2015
Adrianna Vorderbruggen was born in Bogota, Colombia on November 22nd, 1979 and came to the United States with her new parents Shareene and Joseph Vorderbruggen. She was a gifted athlete and played on the Wayzata High School varsity soccer team, which won the Minnesota state soccer championship in 1998. Her high school soccer coach, Tony Peszneker, described her as someone who could be counted on.
“I remember a player who was very steady, reliable, dependable, levelheaded and cool under pressure,” Peszneker said. “She got quite a few accolades for her being an athlete, but was one of those ones who was under the radar. She wasn’t flashy or flamboyant, but she got the job done. I’m sure all of those attributes were why the Air Force Academy came calling for her.”
Her broad talents included playing the piano and oboe, and she excelled equally in the classroom.
She began her career at the United States Air Force Academy where she graduated in May 2002 with a bachelor of science degree in Behavioral Sciences and received her commission as a second lieutenant.
In 2005 while stationed at McChord AFB, Adrianna met a fellow Air Force officer, Heather Lamb, who would become the love of her life. Of all the things they immediately saw and admired in each other, it might have been Adrianna’s mentioning she enjoyed ice-fishing that most impressed Heather during one of their first dates. Heather thought to herself, “Wow – this is someone who will adventure with me!” And for the next 10 years, they did!
In 2011 Adrianna and Heather had a son, Jacob, who became the most joyful adventure of their lives. They married in Washington, D.C. in 2012, one year after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”, to become was one of the first openly gay, female service members to marry.
In 2002, Vorderbruggen was selected for duty as an Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Special Agent. In February 2003, SA Vorderbruggen graduated from the U.S. Air Force Special Investigations Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Brunswick, Ga. Her first assignment in AFOSI was at Detachment 802, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., where she was the unit’s counterintelligence program manager and responsible for much of the southeastern United States, the Caribbean Islands, as well as Central and South America. During this time, she deployed to Tallil Air Base, Iraq, as the collections and source recruitment manager where she was instrumental in the capture of Saddam Hussein’s son’s “right-hand,” who was responsible for killing U.S. and Iraqi military personnel. Returning from her combat deployment in 2005, SA Vorderbruggen transferred to AFOSI Detachment 305, McChord Air Force Base, Wash., where she served as the operations officer.
In 2007, she was selected for her first detachment commander position at AFOSI Detachment 225, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. In 2009, she was selected as an Air Force Institute of Technology student in Forensic Sciences and attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she obtained her Master of Forensic Sciences degree. SA Vorderbruggen then served as the forensic science consultant for the northeastern U.S. region between 2010 and 2013 with the 2nd Field Investigations Squadron, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. From there she was assigned to the 9th Field Investigations Squadron as the operations officer at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and was selected to command AFOSI Expeditionary Detachment 2405 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in 2015.
Line of Duty Death
On 21 December 2015, Special Agent Maj Adrianna Vorderbruggen, Special Agent Michael Cinco, Special Agent SSgt Peter Taub, Special Agent Chester McBride, as well as, SSgt Louis Bonacasa USAF and TSgt Joseph Lemm USAF with the US Air Force Security Forces were killed by a suicide bomber in the village Bajawryan near Bagram Airfield in Parwan Province, Afghanistan. Two other personnel were wounded.
The agents and airmen were conducting a patrol as part of an investigation when the bomber drove a motorcycle into them and detonated the explosives.
She is survived by her wife, and their four year old son.
Funeral services were held at the Ft Myer Memorial Chapel, Ft Myer, VA, followed by interment on January 19, 2016.
Every AFOSI academy graduating class does a memorial run and SA Vorderbruggen is one of many honored time and again. She will never be forgotten in AFOSI, by those who know her and worked with her.
March 30th – Cressida Dick
Metropolitan Police Service – 1983 – 2015
British Foreign Service – 2015 – 2017
Metropolitan Police Service – 2017 – Present
Cressida Dick is the third and youngest child of Marcus William Dick, Senior Tutor at Balliol College, Oxford, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, and Cecilia (née Buxton), a University of Oxford historian. She was born and brought up in Oxford, England, and educated at the Dragon School, Oxford High School, Balliol College, Oxford, and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Before joining the police, she worked in a large accountancy firm.
In 1983, Dick joined the Metropolitan Police as a constable. From 1993, she was a tutor on the accelerated promotion course at Bramshill Police College, and in 1995, transferred to Thames Valley Police as a superintendent. She was operations superintendent at Oxford, and later, area commander in Oxford for three years. In 2000, she completed the strategic command course and, in 2001, she graduated as a Master of Philosophy in criminology from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, with the highest grade in her year.
In June 2001, she returned to the MPS as a commander, where she was head of the diversity directorate until 2003. She then became the head of Operation Trident, which investigates gun crimes within London's black community.
In the immediate aftermath of 21 July 2005 London bombings, she was the gold commander in the control room during the operation which led to the death of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, wrongly identified as a potential suicide bomber.
In September 2006, the Metropolitan Police Authority announced her promotion to the rank of deputy assistant commissioner, specialist operations. On 30 June 2009 the Metropolitan Police Authority announced her promotion to assistant commissioner, in charge of the Specialist Crime Directorate.
In July 2011, Dick was appointed assistant commissioner, specialist operations following the resignation of John Yates in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
Dick was appointed acting deputy commissioner, and held the post between the retirement of Tim Godwin and the commencement of the new deputy commissioner Craig Mackey's term at the beginning of 2012. She held the rank until 23 January 2012.
In February 2013, she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Houron BBC Radio 4.
Dick was awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service in the 2010 New Year Honours.
It was announced in December 2014 that she would retire from the police in 2015 to join the Foreign Office, in an unspecified director-general level posting. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honors for services to policing.
On 22 February 2017, the Home Office and the MPS jointly announced that Dick would be appointed as the next Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police by the Queen, on the recommendation of the Home Secretary Amber Rudd. She assumed office on 10 April 2017; her first official engagement was that afternoon being at the funeral of PC Keith Palmer, the officer killed in the 2017 Westminster attack.
Dick is negotiating with the government in an effort to increase funding for the MPS. She said to LBC, "[Terrorism] is a shifting threat, not a spike, that puts a strain not just on counter-terror police but neighborhood officers. This is not sustainable for my police service. "Dick fears the MPS will need to find £400 million per year savings in addition to the £600 million annual savings they have already found. She fears this will make fighting crime harder. Dick said, "I find it incredible to think that anybody would think that over the next four or five years we should lose that much extra out of our budget."
In June 2017 Dick faced criticism for praising the "diversity" of the victims of the Islamic terror attack on London Bridgethat killed eight people. Dick claimed that the nationalities of those killed told a proud story of the city’s diversity, noting that "among those who died is someone who’s British, there are French, Australian, Canadian, Spanish".
Dick said she is sure cuts to police funding in London is one factor among others in rising violent crime in there. The Guardian reported in May 2018 that the number of police officers fell below 35,000 for the first time in 15 years. Dick responded, "I'm hoping that we will get to well over 30,500 officers, more than 500 more than we currently have, by the end of next year ." Dick also partly blamed social media for growing violent crime. Dick said, "We are seeing the glamorisation of violence, we are seeing social media being used to taunt other gangs, to bring violence about very quickly." Dick said:
Dick is concerned about the effect of a no deal Brexit. She fears this would be costly and would put the public at risk, commenting “We will have to replace some of the things we currently use in terms of access to databases, the way in which we can quickly extradite and arrest people … [We will] have to replace them as effectively as we can, but it will be more costly, slower and potentially put [the] public at risk … There is no doubt about that. This is one of many things politicians deciding what to do need to be thinking about. (...) We would hope that we have as much as possible the instruments we currently have or something similar, as quickly as possible, to keep the public safe. The consequences of not having those things, and if there was [a] no-deal scenario, would be difficult in the short term.”
March 29th – Beverly Busson
Royal Canadian Mounted Patrol – 1974 – 2018
On 23 August 1951, Bev Busson was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 1974, Busson joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after graduating with a degree in education from Nova Scotia’s Teachers College. She was part of the original women’s class to become Mounties. She has worked in various positions from uniform policework to other duties including investigating frauds, drugs and serious crimes as one of the first women to work in plain clothes.
Rising up the ranks, Busson has worked for the RCMP in Salmon Arm, Vancouver, Ottawa and North Battleford, Saskatchewan (Assistant Commissioner and Commanding Officer in Saskatchewan). She took a leave from the force to head British Columbia's Organized Crime Agency for a time before becoming Deputy Commissioner for the Pacific Region. Afterward she was the first woman Commissioner for the RCMP, even if only temporarily.
Post Law Enforcement
Following her retirement from the Force, Bev served as a member of the RCMP Reform Implementation Council, and as an advisor to the Government on National Security, among other ventures. She has also volunteered on a number of endeavours including serving as a director of the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and the Okanagan College Foundation, and participating in the Women's Executive Network Mentorship Program.
For her contributions to Canadian law enforcement and security, Bev Busson was named Commander of the Order of Merit of Police Forces by the Governor General, awarded the Vice Chief of Defence Staff Commendation, the Order of British Columbia and was ultimately recognized as a Member of the Order of Canada.
Most recently Bev Busson was sworn into the Senate on September 27th 2018.
March 27th – Donna Payton
New York State Department of Corrections – 1980 - 1980
Donna Payton was born on March 22nd, 1950 and was a mother of three. Payton’s husband was a corrections officer like her, and her father was a corrections officer at the Clinton Prison for over 28 years.
Donna Payant attended the corrections officers' academy in 1980 at the age of 30 and was hired at the Green Haven Correctional Facility in Dutchess County New York. Payant's assignment was to guard a cell block, to bring inmates to the dining hall and escort them back.
Line of Duty Death
Exact specifics of Payant’s death are not fully known, but she was killed by inmate Lemuel Smith, a rapist and two-time convicted murderer who was already serving two life sentences. She was lured to the prison chaplain's office by the Smith posing as another corrections employee. Smith was working in the chaplain's office at the time. The autopsy showed that Payant died by strangulation. After killing her, the inmate wrapped her body in plastic, stuffed it into a 55-gallon drum and disposed of it in a dumpster. When she came up missing, the prison was locked down and searched. No trace was found, but search dogs traced her scent to the dumping area. The next morning the landfill was searched and her body was found. For having killed Officer Payant, Smith received a third murder conviction, and was originally sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted as unconstitutional.
As of 2016, Payant was the sole female correctional officer in New York State to die in the line of duty.
On or about May 15 each year, correction officers gather at Green Haven Correctional in Stormville to remember Donna Payant.
March 26th – Frances Glessner Lee
Frances Glessner Lee was born in Chicago in 1878. Her father, John Jacob Glessner, was an industrialist who became wealthy from International Harvester. She and her brother were educated at home; her brother went to Harvard, but she was not permitted to attend college. Instead, she married a lawyer, Blewett Lee. The marriage ended in divorce. Lee was fond of the stories of Sherlock Holmes, whose plot twists were often the result of overlooked details, which lead to her interest in forensic science.
Lee expressed interest in forensic pathology years later, she was emphatically discouraged. She had to wait until a year after her brother's death in 1930 and took her first steps towards her own career at age 52. She inherited the Harvester fortune and she finally had the money to develop an interest in how detectives could examine clues.
She was inspired by a classmate of her brother, George Burgess Magrath, who was studying medicine at Harvard Medical School and was particularly interested in death investigation. They remained close friends until his death in 1938. Magrath became a chief medical examiner in Boston and together they lobbied to have coroners replaced by medical professionals. Glessner Lee endowed the Harvard Department of Legal Medicine (in 1931, the first such department in the country), and the George Burgess Magrath Library. She also endowed the Harvard Associates in Police Science, a national organization for the furtherance of forensic science that has a division dedicated to her, called the Frances Glessner Lee Homicide School. The Harvard program influenced other states to change over from the coroner system.
Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
Through the 1940s and 1950s, Lee hosted a series of semi-annual seminars in homicide investigation. Detectives, prosecutors and other investigators were invited to a week-long conference, where she presented them with the "Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death", intricately constructed dioramas of actual crime scenes, complete with working doors, windows and lights. The 20 models were based on challenging cases and were designed to test the abilities of students to collect all relevant evidence. The models depicted multiple causes of death and were based on autopsies and crime scenes that Lee visited.
She paid extraordinary attention to detail in creating the models. The rooms were filled with working mousetraps and rocking chairs, food in the kitchens, and more, and the corpses accurately represented discoloration or bloating that would be present at the crime scene. Each model cost about $3,000-$4,500 to create. Students were given 90 minutes to study the scene. The week culminated in a banquet at the Ritz Carlton. Eighteen of the original dioramas are still used for training purposes by Harvard Associates in Police Science.
For her work, Lee was made an honorary captain in the New Hampshire State Police on October 27, 1943, making her the first woman to join the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
March 25th – Dr. Freda Adler
Dr. Freda Adler was born in 1934 and not much is documented about her life prior to her academic career. Dr. Adler received a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, Master of Arts in criminology, and her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, under the guidance of professor Thorsten Sellin, publishing her Ph.D. dissertation in 1971.
Dr. Adler began her career in criminal justice as an evaluator of drug and alcohol treatment programs for federal and state governments. For several decades she has taught subjects such as criminal justice, criminology, comparative criminal justice systems, statistics, and research methods.
Dr. Adler first gained prominence in 1975 by articulating a controversial theory (known generally as the Liberation Theory of Female Criminality) in which she predicted rising crime rates for women as a result of the success of the women’s liberation movement. In other words, according to this theory the feminist social movement had increased women’s opportunities, and thirst, for crime. From a criminological viewpoint, her thesis strongly contradicted the pathological explanations of female criminality prevalent in the preceding century. By the following year, with the publication of her book, Sisters in Crime: The Rise of the New Female Criminal, she was reported as being "billed as the 'foremost female criminologist in the United States'"
Dr. Adler's publications include thirteen books as author or co-author, nine edited or co-edited books, and over 100 journal articles. Besides her work for various federal and local agencies within the U.S., she also consulted for over twenty foreign governments including Poland, Russia, Italy, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Argentina, and the United Arab Emerites.
Currently Dr. Adler serves as the Director for the Criminology department at the University of Pennsylvania.
Awards / Honors in Academia
Dr. Adler received a D.H.L. (honoris causa) from the University of Scranton in 2011. She has been on the Board of Directors of the University of Pennsylvania Association of Alumni, the International Society of Social Defense, the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council (ISPAC) of United Nations Programs in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and The Police Foundation (Washington, D.C.)
She is the recipient of the Beccaria Medal in Gold of the Deutsche Kriminologische Gesellschaft (representing Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland), the Chi Omega Sociology Award, the American Society of Criminology International Division Award, the Distinguished Alumna Award of the Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Founder's Award. The International Division of the American Society of Criminology presents a Freda Dr. Adler Distinguished Scholar Award annually. Dr. Adler is a Fellow of The Max-Planck Institute of Foreign and International Law and Criminology, the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. She is a Senior Fellow of the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Adler has occasionally collaborated with her husband, Gerhard O.W. Mueller, who served as chief of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice section.
March 24th – Michele Leonhart
Baltimore City Police Department – 1978-1980
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration – 1980 – 2015
Not much is known about Leonhart's early life other than she graduated from Bemidji State University in 1978 with a degree in criminal justice.
Leonhart began her career in law enforcement as a patrol officer in Baltimore, Maryland before entering the DEA in late 1980 as a Special Agent. In 1997, Leonhart became DEA's first female Special Agent in Charge. President George W. Bush announced his intention to nominate Leonhart as Deputy Administrator on July 31, 2003, and submitted her nomination to the United States Senate on October 3, 2003. The Senate confirmed her nomination on March 8, 2004. On April 15, 2008, the White House announced that President Bush intended to nominate Leonhart to succeed Tandy as the next Administrator of DEA. Leonhart's nomination was received by the Senate the same day and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, the committee did not hold any hearings on Leonhart's nomination, and on January 2, 2009, the nomination was returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate pursuant to sine die adjournment at the end of the 110th Congress.
During Leonhart's testimony before the Judiciary Committee, she was questioned by a member of the Committee on Aging, Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), about her policy for nurses prescribing painkillers for patients in nursing homes. The problem of DEA interference during Leonhart's acting administratorship with the prescription of painkillers by nurses in nursing homes had come before the Committee on Aging. Unsatisfied with her responses to his questions, Senator Kohl threatened to put a hold on Leonhart's nomination that could have postponed the vote on her confirmation indefinitely. In correspondence between the Committee on Aging and the DEA, Senator Kohl received assurances that patients suffering intractable pain could receive painkillers prescribed by nurses. On December 22, 2010, the Senate confirmed Leonhart's nomination unanimously by voice vote.
Administrator Leonhart faced a large increase in prescription drug overdoses due to the opioid crisis. Regardless, drug diversion enforcement actions against pharmaceutical companies declined sharply under her leadership, dropping from 131 in 2011 to 40 in 2014. In 2013, DEA's chief administrative law judge John J. Mulrooney II reported that for the first time on record no charging documents had been filed for a whole month, finding that each case was now costing $11 million and one enforcement action was being taken for every 625 deaths. In 2014, Mulrooney began allowing his judges to begin hearing cases from other agencies because the DEA's caseload was so low.
In 2014, Leonhart openly criticized President Barack Obama's stance on cannabis at a meeting of the National Sheriffs' Association. Marijuana activists and two congressmen have called for her resignation due to her stance on cannabis while some law enforcement leaders have defended her position. She also alleged that dog owners should oppose marijuana legalization due to edible products' toxicity to animals. However, one study that examined 125 Colorado dogs who had contracted marijuana toxicosis between 2005 and 2010 found that only two dogs died as a result of ingesting marijuana edibles, and in both cases it was unclear whether the toxicity in question came from the ingestion of THC or from items toxic to canines that were also found in said marijuana edibles, such as chocolate and caffeine.
In March 2015, it was revealed DEA agents were participating in drug cartel-funded sex parties with prostitutes. Agents were given expensive gifts, weapons and money.
Surrounding the scandal, Leonhart announced her retirement. In April 2015, twenty-two members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said in a joint statement they had lost confidence in Leonhart's leadership.
March 23rd – Kate Warne
Pinkerton Detective Agency – 1856 – 1867
Pinkerton Detective Agency
Very little is known about Kate Warne prior to her working for Allan Pinkerton, except that she was born in Erin, Chemung County, New Yorkand was a widow by age 23. Pinkerton, in his book The Spy of the Rebellion (1883), described her as:
[a] commanding person, with clear cut, expressive features ... a slender, brown-haired woman, graceful in her movements and self-possessed. Her features, although not what could be called handsome [beautiful], were decidedly of an intellectual cast ... her face was honest, which would cause one in distress instinctly [sic] to select her as a confidante.
Warne walked into the Pinkerton Detective Agency in response to an advertisement in a local newspaper. When she walked into Pinkerton's Chicago office, according to Pinkerton company records, he further described her acquaintance:
[he] was surprised to learn Kate was not looking for clerical work, but was actually answering an advertisement for detectives he had placed in a Chicago newspaper. At the time, such a concept was almost unheard of. Pinkerton said "It is not the custom to employ women detectives!" Kate argued her point of view eloquently - pointing out that women could be "most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective." A Woman would be able to befriend the wives and girlfriends of suspected criminals and gain their confidence. Men become braggarts when they are around women who encourage them to boast. Kate also noted, Women have an eye for detail and are excellent observers.
Warne's arguments swayed Pinkerton, who employed Warne as the first female detective. Pinkerton soon had a chance to put Warne to the test. In 1858, Warne was involved in the case of Adams Express Company embezzlements, where she was successfully able to bring herself into the confidence of the wife of the prime suspect, Mr. Maroney. She thereby acquired valuable evidence leading to the husband's conviction. Mr. Maroney was an expressman living in Montgomery, Alabama. The Maroneys stole $50,000 from the Adams Express Company. With Warne's help, $39,515 was returned. Mr. Maroney was convicted and sentenced to ten years in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1860, Allan Pinkerton put Warne in charge of his new Female Detective Bureau.
Civil War Intelligence
During the American Civil War, Allan Pinkerton and Kate Warne were used as a covert war intelligence-gathering bureau. Warne could easily penetrate into Southern social gatherings. She said that women are most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective. Believed to be a mistress of Pinkerton, Warne would often pose as his wife while undercover. She also had an assortment of alias names: Kay Warne, Kay Waren, Kay Warren, Kate Warne, Kate Waren, Kate Warren, Kitty Warne, Kitty Waren, Kitty Warren, Kittie Waren, Kittie Warne, and Kittie Warren. Warne was known as "Kitty" to Robert Pinkerton, Allan's brother. Robert Pinkerton often argued with Warne over expenses turned over to the agency, but her relationship with Allan continued for years.
(Kate Warne in Union uniform)
After the quelled assassination attempt on president-elect Abraham Lincoln, Kate Warne continued to travel with Allan Pinkerton as his Female Superintendent of Detectives. On April 12, 1861, the Confederate States of America's cannons in Charleston began firing on Fort Sumter. These cannon shells marked the beginning of the American Civil War. Within nine days, Pinkerton wrote to President Lincoln offering the services of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. However, before Lincoln could respond, Major General George B. McClellan asked Pinkerton to set up a military intelligence service for McClellan's command. Therefore, by the end of July 1861, Pinkerton took Warne, Timothy Webster, and later George Bangs west to set up a headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, to follow McClellan's Ohio division.
Post-Civil War Career
After the Civil War, Kate Warne worked on various high-profile cases. One of these involved the murder of a bank-teller, George Gordon. The murderer got away with $130,000. Pinkerton determined that Gordon was fetching money for a friend or someone who frequented the bank when he was struck on the head behind the ear with a hammer with intent to murder any witnesses of the robbery. Through his investigation, Pinkerton felt certain that his prime suspect, Alexander P. Drysdale, had in fact killed Gordon. However, at this point he did not have enough hard evidence to convict Drysdale; too much was still based on speculation. Therefore, he set a trap for Drysdale so that he would reveal a confession. Warne was sent under cover as a Mrs. Potter and became close friends with Mr. Drysdale's wife. Through this plot, they were able to uncover where Drysdale had hidden the stolen money.
Another case for which Kate Warne went undercover was brought about by a Captain Sumner, who was convinced that both his sister, Mrs. Annie Thayer and a Mr. Pattmore, were attempting to poison Mrs. Pattmore and himself. Warne took the name Lucille and assumed the role of a fortune teller to lure information out of the suspected murderer's confidants. In the meantime, she also continually coordinated Pinkerton's other female detectives in the agency. Pinkerton rented a space for Warne to work as part of her guise. Allan Pinkerton named Kate Warne one of the five best detectives that he had. Her employment by Pinkerton was a significant moment in Woman's History. Women were not allowed to be a part of the police force until 1891 and could not be officers until 1910. Pinkerton specifically thanked Kate Warne and Timothy Webster in his memoirs. Both Warne and Webster were key operatives during the Baltimore Plotinvestigations. Warne reported back to Pinkerton about all her work when he was away from the office and they worked together, on numerous cases, during their tenure. Pinkerton constantly showed a deep trust in the work that Warne performed and acknowledges so in his memoirs. She was in charge of the Female Detective Bureau established by Pinkerton, her title being Supervisor of Women Agents. Pinkerton said to his female prospective agents:
In my service you will serve your country better than on the field. I have several female operatives. If you agree to come aboard you will go in training with the head of my female detectives, Kate Warne. She has never let me down.
March 21st / 22nd – Women in the Texas Rangers
Texas Department of Safety - Rangers – 1993 - Present
First Women Rangers
In 1993, Cheryl Steadman and Marrie Reynolds Garcia were the first two women to become Texas Rangers. Steadman worked as a Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper in the warrants division prior to being selected as a Ranger and Reynolds worked as Sergeant in the DPS driver’s license bureau.
Garcia was commissioned in 1977 and was assigned to the driver's license bureau. Three years later, she moved to the patrol division, where she spent 10 years. In 1990, she became a sergeant.
She acknowledged being involved in a few "wild chases" during her highway patrol years but said the most satisfying part of her job comes from calmer encounters. "I enjoy being able to help people and being there when they need you."
A few years ago, Garcia said, she set her sights on the Rangers. She spent a year hitting the books, preparing for the competitive exam.
(No photo was available for Garcia)
Steadman was just shy of graduating from the University of Houston when she started study at the law enforcement academy in Austin in 1984. It is there she met her husband, Steve Steadman, now a DPS patrolman. Two years with the driver's license office led her to the warrants division where she has spent several years.
Controversy With Women in the Rangers
A year after joining, Steadman quit in disgust, saying her career "went to hell in a handbasket." She complained of routine discrimination and said she had been harassed at an overnight Ranger outing in east Texas. At that event, she said, male Rangers drank to excess, gambled and recited a poem about the sexual prowess of a Ranger predecessor.
Another woman turned down a promotion into the Rangers after clashing with her male superiors over everything from where she would be assigned to just what kind of cowboy hat she could wear on the job.
A third woman, who is black, Christine Nix, says she is still a "happy Ranger" even though two male colleagues were reprimanded by the state last year after they were accused of referring to her with sexual and racial slurs in a private conversation. Nix started with the Rangers in 1994 and retired in 2004.
The first two women Rangers were sworn to duty in August 1993, and several longtime Rangers quit the force within weeks. Some expressed their dismay that neither woman had any experience as a criminal investigator, while others aired a broader disgust. Joaquin Jackson, a west Texas Ranger with 27 years on the force, described the hiring of women Rangers as -- to put it in more polite terms than he used -- ill conceived.
Women in the Rangers Today
In 2014, the Rangers announced their first woman lieutenant, Wende Wakeman, who originally started law enforcement as a Highway Patrol Trooper before joining the Rangers and moving her way up.
Wakeman graduated from the Texas Department of Public Safety Training Academy in 1999, according to information from NSRW. She has served as a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper in Sulphur Springs and New Caney, was promoted to a Sergeant in the DPS Narcotics Section and was stationed in McAllen and then later in Houston where she remained until December of 2007. In January of 2008, she promoted to Texas Ranger and was assigned in Conroe where she remained until August of 2014, when she promoted to Texas Ranger Lieutenant in Laredo. Wakeman later transferred to Huntsville
Wakeman is a graduate of the National Forensic Academy in Tennessee, and is a certified forensic hypnotist, and a graduate of DPS Command College – Cohort 4, according to the information. As a Ranger, she was a member of the Texas Ranger Division, Crime Scene Investigation Working Group and the Crime Scene Team Leader for Company "A". She is a TCOLE Instructor and has provided instruction to DPS recruits and Texas Rangers in the fields of Case Management, Crime Scene Investigation and Bloodstain Pattern Analysis. As of February 2018, Wakeman was still active with the Rangers.
March 20th – Katherine Battle Gordy
U.S. Marshal Service – 1936 – 1952
Not much is written about Katherine Battle Gordy other than the fact she was a U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Alabama from 1936 to 1952. Gordy made history in 1949 when she became the first woman ever to be appointed, although temporarily, as U.S. Marshal. She devoted her entire working career to the Marshals Service, proudly serving 16 years as a Deputy U.S. Marshal.
March 19th – Janet Reno
Florida State Attorney’s Office – 1978 – 1993
United States Attorney General – 1993 - 2001
Janet Reno was born in Miami, Florida. Reno's mother, Jane Wallace, wrote a weekly home improvement column for The Miami News under a male pseudonym and later became an investigative reporter for the paper. Her father, Henry Olaf Reno, was an immigrant from Denmark and a reporter for the Miami Herald for 43 years. Reno had three younger siblings: Mark; Robert; and Maggy Hurchalla. The family moved to a property near the Everglades when Reno was 8 years old, living in a house Reno's mother built. The house originally sat on 21 acres of property, some of which the family later sold to pay for the children's education.
Reno attended public school in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where she was a debating champion, and was salutatorian at Coral Gables Senior High School. In 1956 she enrolled at Cornell University, where she majored in chemistry, became president of the Women's Self-Government Association, and earned her room and board. After graduating from Cornell, Reno enrolled at Harvard Law School, one of only 16 women in a class of 500 students. She graduated from Harvard in 1963.
Early Law Career
From 1963 to 1971 Reno worked as an attorney for two Miami law firms. In 1971, she joined the staff of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives. The following year, Reno ran for a seat in Florida's state house. She did not win. In 1973, she worked on a project to revise the state's system of rules and regulations for criminal procedures. Later in the same year, she accepted a position with the Dade County State Attorney's Office led by Richard Gerstein. Shortly after joining the office, Gerstein made Reno his chief assistant. Reno did not try any cases during her time working for Gerstein. She worked for the Judiciary Circuit and left the state attorney's office in 1976 to become a partner in a private law firm, Steel, Hector & Davis. Gerstein decided to retire in 1977, creating a vacancy with Florida governor Reubin Askew to appoint a successor. Reno was one of two candidates Gerstein recommended to replace him.
In January 1978, Governor Askew appointed Reno the State Attorney for Dade County (now called Miami-Dade County). She was the first woman to serve as a state attorney in Florida. She was elected to the Office of State Attorney in November 1978 and was returned to office by the voters four more times. Reno ran as a liberal, pro-choice Democrat even though Miami-Dade was a conservative county. Reno did not always face serious challengers, although in 1984 Cuban-American lawyer Jose Garcia-Pedrosa ran against Reno, and picked up the endorsement of the Miami Herald editorial board. In spite of his support among Miami's Hispanic voters, Reno won the election decisively.
The office she led included 95 attorneys and an annual caseload that included 15,000 felonies and 40,000 misdemeanors. As state attorney, she developed a reputation for ethical behavior, going so far as to purchase a car at sticker price to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
U.S. Attorney General
In 1993, President Bill Clinton Reno nominated to serve as the United States Attorney General. Both of his previous choices, Zoë Baird and Kimba Wood, faced problems because both had employed undocumented immigrants as nannies. Upon Clinton's announcement on February 11, 1993 that he had selected Reno for Attorney General, he said he wanted to hire a woman for the job but had also considered multiple male candidates. Clinton said he had discounted Reno early in his search because she did not have experience in the Justice Department or federal law, but ultimately he came to understand that she had experience with a variety of criminal law issues from her role as State Attorney. On March 11, 1993, Senate confirmed Reno by a vote of 98 to 0. She was sworn in the next day, becoming the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney General. As Attorney General, Reno oversaw the Justice Department and its 95,000 employees. Reno remained Attorney General for the rest of Clinton's presidency, making her the longest-serving Attorney General since William Wirt in 1829.
In 1994, Reno tasked the Justice Department with compiling a report on DNA exoneration. The science was still new at that point in time. Reno commissioned the report after reading about the exoneration of a death row inmate. She wanted to know how many cases existed like the one she read about and what the Department of Justice could learn from it. The resulting report concluded there was a strong possibility that many more wrongful convictions which could be cleared with DNA evidence existed. Reno changed policies on how to interview eyewitnesses and laboratory protocols in response.
The following Department of Justice actions occurred during Reno's tenure:
- Waco, Tx Siege
- Microsoft Violation of the Sherman Act
- Capture and conviction of the Unabomber, Timothy McVeigh, and 1993 World Trade Center Bombers conspirators
- Bill Clinton’s involvement in Whitewater
- Elian Gonzales Incident
In 1998, the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, in a party line vote, voted to recommend the House cite Reno for contempt of Congress for not turning over two internal justice department memos related to a campaign finance controversy during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Reno contended she refused to turn over the documents sought because the documents would reveal prosecutor strategy in an ongoing investigation. Reno argued her actions were in defense of the principle that prosecutors should be free of political influence. The full House of Representatives never voted on the resolution and the documents were turned over to the House.
Post Law Life
Reno ran for Governor of Florida in 2002,but lost in the Democratic primary to Bill McBride 44% to 44.4%. Voting problems arose in the election, and she did not concede defeat until a week later.
After her tenure as United States Attorney General and her unsuccessful gubernatorial bid, Reno toured the country giving speeches on topics relating to the criminal justice system. On March 31, 2006, she spoke at a criminology conference at the University of Pennsylvania. She stated that she believed the education system in the United States needs to be improved, as there is a link between the quality of education and the crime rate. She also believed that too much money has been diverted away from the juvenile court system and that the government should find some way to make the juvenile courts work effectively, so as to prevent problems in troubled children and adolescents before these problems are exacerbated by the time they reach adulthood.
Reno was a founding member board of directors for the Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization which assists prisoners who may be exonerated through DNA testing, in 2004. By 2013 she was Director Emeritus of the Board of Directors.
Reno died November 7th 2016 due to complications of Parkinson’s Disease.
March 18th – Sandra Day O’Connor
U.S. Supreme Court – 1981 – 2005
Sandra Day was born in El Paso, Texas, the daughter of Harry Alfred Day, a rancher, and Ada Mae (Wilkey). She grew up on a 198,000-acre cattle ranch near Duncan, Arizona. The ranch was nine miles from the nearest paved road. The family home did not have running water or electricity until Sandra was seven years old. She hunted from a young age, using a .22-caliber rifle to shoot jackrabbits for food. She began driving as soon as she could see over the dashboard and had to learn to change flat automobile tires herself. Sandra had two younger siblings, a sister and a brother, respectively eight and ten years her junior. Her sister was Ann Day, who served in the Arizona Legislature. She later wrote a book with her brother, H. Alan Day, Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American West (2002), about her childhood experiences on the ranch. For most of her early schooling, O'Connor lived in El Paso with her maternal grandmother, and attended school at the Radford School for Girls, a private school. The family cattle ranch was too far from schools, although O'Connor was able to return to the ranch for holidays and the summer. O'Connor spent her eighth-grade year living at the ranch and riding a bus 32 miles to school. She graduated sixth in her class at Austin High School in El Paso in 1946.
Sandra Day attended Stanford University, where she received her B.A. in Economics in 1950. She continued at the Stanford Law School for her law degree in 1952. There, she served on the Stanford Law Review with its presiding editor-in-chief, future Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was the class valedictorian and whom she briefly dated during law school. She has stated that she graduated third in her law school class, though Stanford's official position is that the law school did not rank students in 1952.
On December 20, 1952, six months after graduating from law school, she married John Jay O'Connor III, whom she had met at Stanford Law School.
Upon graduation from law school, while her classmate Rehnquist went on to clerk for the Supreme Court, O'Connor had difficulty finding a paying job as an attorney because of her gender. O'Connor found employment as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California, after she offered to work for no salary and without an office, sharing space with a secretary. She worked with San Mateo County district attorney Louis Dematteis and deputy district attorney Keith Sorensen.
When her husband was drafted, O'Connor decided to pick up and go with him to work in Germany as a civilian attorney for the Army's Quartermaster Corps. They remained there for three years before returning to the states where they settled in Maricopa County, Arizona, to begin their family. They had three sons: Scott (born 1958), Brian (born 1960), and Jay (born 1962). Following Brian's birth, O'Connor took a five-year hiatus from the practice of law.
She volunteered in various political organizations, such as the Maricopa County Young Republicans, and served on the presidential campaign for Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater in 1964.
O'Connor served as assistant Attorney General of Arizona from 1965 to 1969. In 1969, the governor of Arizona appointed O'Connor to fill a vacancy in the Arizona Senate. She ran for and won the election for the seat the following year. By 1973, she became the first woman to serve as Arizona's or any state's Majority Leader. She developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and a moderate. After serving two full terms, O'Connor decided to leave the Senate.
In 1974, O'Connor was elected to the Maricopa County Superior Court serving from 1975 to 1979 when she was elevated to the Arizona State Court of Appeals. She served on the Court of Appeals-Division One until 1981 when she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan.
Supreme Court Career
On July 7, 1981, Reagan – who had pledged during his 1980 presidential campaign to appoint the first woman to the Court – announced he would nominate O'Connor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to replace the retiring Potter Stewart. O'Connor received notification from President Reagan of her nomination on the day prior to the announcement and did not know that she was a finalist for the position.
Reagan wrote in his diary on July 6, 1981: "Called Judge O'Connor and told her she was my nominee for supreme court. Already the flak is starting and from my own supporters. Right to Life people say she is pro abortion. She declares abortion is personally repugnant to her. I think she'll make a good justice." O'Connor told Reagan she did not remember whether she had supported the view of repealing Arizona's law banning abortion. However, she had cast a preliminary vote in the Arizona State Senate in 1970 in favor of a bill to repeal the state's criminal-abortion statute. In 1974, O'Connor had opined against a measure to prohibit abortions in some Arizona hospitals. Pro-life and religious groups opposed O'Connor's nomination because they suspected, correctly, she would not be willing to overturn Roe v Wade. U.S. Senate Republicans, including Don Nickles of Oklahoma, Steve Symms of Idaho, and Jesse Helms of North Carolina called the White House to express their discontent over the nomination; Nickles said he and "other profamily Republican senators would not support" O'Connor. Helms, Nickles, and Symms nevertheless voted for confirmation.
Reagan formally nominated O'Connor on August 19, 1981.
Conservative activists such as the Reverend Jerry Falwell, Howard Phillips, and Peter Gemma also spoke out against the nomination. Gemma called the nomination "a direct contradiction of the Republican platform to everything that candidate Reagan said and even President Reagan has said in regard to social issues." Gemma, the executive director of the National Pro-Life Political Action Committee, had sought to delay O'Connor's confirmation by challenging her record, including support for the Equal Rights Amendment.
O'Connor's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee began on September 9, 1981. It was the first televised confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court Justice. The confirmation hearing lasted three days and largely focused on the issue of abortion. When asked, O'Connor refused to telegraph her views on abortion, and she was careful not to leave the impression that she supported abortion rights. The Judiciary Committee approved O'Connor with seventeen votes in favor and one vote of present.
On September 21, O'Connor was confirmed by the U.S. Senate with a vote of 99–0; Senator Max Baucus of Montana was absent from the vote, and sent O'Connor a copy of “A River Runs Through It” by way of apology. In her first year on the Court she received over 60,000 letters from the public, more than any other justice in history.
Sandra Day O'Connor was part of the federalism movement and approached each case as narrowly as possible, avoiding generalizations that might later "paint her into a corner" for future cases. Initially, her voting record aligned closely with the conservative William Rehnquist (voting with him 87% of the time her first three years at the Court). From that time until 1998, O'Connor's alignment with Rehnquist ranged from 93.4% to 63.2%, hitting above 90% in three of those years. In nine of her first sixteen years on the Court, O'Connor voted with Rehnquist more than with any other justice.
Later on, as the Court's make-up became more conservative (e.g., Anthony Kennedyreplacing Lewis Powell, and Clarence Thomas replacing Thurgood Marshall), O'Connor often became the swing vote on the Court. However, she usually disappointed the Court's more liberal bloc in contentious 5–4 decisions: from 1994 to 2004, she joined the traditional conservative bloc of Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Thomas 82 times; she joined the liberal bloc of John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer only 28 times.
O'Connor's relatively small shift away from conservatives on the Court seems to have been due at least in part to Thomas's views. When Thomas and O'Connor were voting on the same side, she would typically write a separate opinion of her own, refusing to join his. In the 1992 term, O'Connor did not join a single one of Thomas' dissents.
Justice O'Connor was unpredictable in many of her court decisions, especially those regarding First Amendment Establishment Cause issues. Avoiding ideology, she decided on a case-by-case basis and voted with careful deliberation in a way that she felt benefited individual rights and the Constitution
According to law professor Jeffrey Rosen, "O'Connor was an eloquent opponent of intrusive group searches that threatened privacy without increasing security. In a 1983 opinion upholding searches by drug-sniffing dogs, she recognized that a search is most likely to be considered constitutionally reasonable if it is very effective at discovering contraband without revealing innocent but embarrassing information." Washington College of Law law professor Andrew Taslitz, referencing O'Connor's dissent in a 2001 case, said of her Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: "O'Connor recognizes that needless humiliation of an individual is an important factor in determining Fourth Amendment reasonableness." O'Connor once quoted the social contract theory of John Locke as influencing her views on the reasonableness and constitutionality of government action.
In the 1990 and 1995 Missouri v. Jenkins rulings, O'Connor voted with the majority that district courts had no authority to require the state of Missouri to increase school funding in order to counteract racial inequality. In the 1991 Freeman v. Pitts case, O'Connor joined a concurring opinion in a plurality, agreeing that a school district that had formerly been under judicial review for racial segregation could be freed of this review, even though not all desegregation targets had been met. Law professor Herman Schwartz criticized these rulings, writing that in both cases "both the fact and effects of segregation were still present."
On July 1, 2005, O'Connor announced her intention to retire. In her letter to Bush, she stated that her retirement from active service would take effect upon the confirmation of her successor. Her letter did not provide a reason for her departure; however, a Supreme Court spokeswoman confirmed O'Connor was leaving to spend time with her husband, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. At her retirement she was still in good health, an exception to the usual practice of justices serving until death or nearly incapacitated.
March 17th – Beverly J. Harvard
Atlanta PD – 1973 – 2002
Transportation Security Administration – 2002 – 2010
U.S. Marshal Service – 2010 - Present
Harvard was 22 and fresh out of Morris Brown College when she joined the Atlanta Police Department as one of its first female recruits in 1973. She mostly hoped to prove her husband and a friend wrong who bet her $100 she wouldn’t make it. And she kept proving it, first by walking a 6 p.m.-2 a.m. beat along the hippie-heavy (and all that entailed) 10th Street Strip, then rising through the ranks as commander of various divisions and even the department’s spokesperson during 1981’s missing and murdered child investigation.
She was the mother of a 6-year-old daughter herself and had been acting chief for six months when Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell named her top cop in 1994. With Atlanta preparing to host the world at the 1996 Summer Olympics, she became the first black woman (and only the third woman ever) to head up a major U.S. police department.
Harvard lasted eight years in a job that was rife with unique challenges and never far from politics. A hiring shortage left APD 400 officers down at one point. Freaknik, the rollicking “black spring break,” paralyzed the city at its height in the mid-’90s when 250,000 revelers (and criminals taking advantage) showed up. APD started cracking down on even minor infractions and kept the partyers’ cars moving, and by decade’s end, Freaknik had moved on for good.
Harvard chose not to reapply for her job when Mayor Shirley Franklin took office in 2002.
Harvard began her career at TSA in 2002 as the Deputy Federal Security Director, before going on to be sworn in as the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Georgia in October 2010.
March 16th – Carla Provost
Riley County PD – 1992 – 1995
U.S. Border Patrol – 1995 - Present
Carla L. Provost was born in Burlingame, Kansas. Her father, Max, worked for the Santa Fe Railroad, which became the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Her mother, Faye, was a paralegal for a law firm before passing away from Alzheimer’s disease.
Provost graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in sociology and criminal justice; and obtained a M.S. in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University.
During her senior year of college, Provost had an internship with the Topeka Police Department. “One of my parents’ friends was the head homicide detective there, so I got to see a lot more than most interns do,” she remembers. After graduation in 1992, Provost stayed near KSU, signing on to the Riley County Police Department.
However, as much as she loved the job, Provost set her sights on a federal career.
The detective in Topeka had introduced her to a U.S. Marshal, and that prompted Provost to consider a career beyond municipal police work. “You know, when you’re in your early 20s, you think that the sexy jobs are the FBI, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals. So I was going through the hiring process with the Marshals, and I was still working at the police department, loving my work but living paycheck to paycheck.”
Her plans took a detour when the U.S. Marshals announced a hiring freeze. “A friend of mine told me that the U.S. Border Patrol was hiring. I had never even heard of the Border Patrol; I grew up about as far as one could get from the border – literally in the middle of the country.”
Provost joined the Border Patrol in 1995, when the 5,000 member force was 5% female. After starting in Douglas, Arizona, she served as a supervisor in Yuma, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas.
In January 2013, she was given control of operations for the Border Patrol's El Centro Sector. In September 2015, she was tasked with investigating corrupt agents, becoming deputy assistant commissioner of the Patrol's Office of Professional Responsibility.
In January 2017, President Donald Trump, who had been endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council, asked for the resignation of Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan, whom the patrolmen's union had opposed. Trump then named Ron Vitiello chief. In April 2017, Provost was named acting chief after Vitello was named acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Provost's promotion was supported by the patrolmen's union.
Provost says she hopes she can inspire other women to sign up with the agency, which has just one female agent for every 20 men.
"If you're a woman in law enforcement, I don't care where you're at, you're a minority," Provost told The Associated Press in an interview.
She said being a woman in a largely male organization didn't cause her problems.
"Now, I'm 6-foot tall. That might help when it comes to my stature. Whether it was the police department or the Border Patrol, I was a police officer, not a female police officer. I'm a Border Patrol agent, not a female Border Patrol Agent."
March 14th - Due to the mass shooting in New Zealand we decided to remember the victims of that massacre today instead of a woman in law enforcement. Tomorrow we will continue on, but thought it was important to send thoughts and prayers to the victims of this recent tragedy.
March 14th – Elizabeth Jacobson
U.S. Air Force Security Forces – 2003 – 2005
End of Watch – September 28, 2005
Elizabeth Jacobson was born on March 26th, 1984. She attended Palm Beach Gardens and Gold Coast high schools while living with her grandparents in Florida. She left to live with her mother in Madera, California but later returned to Riviera Beach looking for work. “Elizabeth made everything fun” said a former boyfriend. “She was always laughing.” Elizabeth also belonged to the Fresno Playhouse and won a writing contest on Poetry.com before enlisting.
Airman Jacobson enlisted in the Air Force on December 9, 2003 after her Grandfather advised her to join the armed forces. After completing Security Forces technical school, she was assigned to the 17th Security Forces Squadron at Goodfellow Air Force Base where she performed duties as an installation entry controller and patrolman. She was later deployed to Iraq. Jacobson had her life planned for when she returned to Florida from Iraq, including a career in law enforcement and two sons she someday wanted to have.
In an e-mail to friends and family, she wrote, “I want to die happy, and have a productive life. I hope nobody wishes I was never born. I hope my kids never tell me they wish I were like their friend’s mom. I hope that I make money, but don’t end up a workaholic or stuck up.”
Line of Duty Death
While providing convoy security support on Wednesday September 28, 2005 in Safwan Iraq when a bomb exploded near her vehicle . Elizabeth became the first Security Forces Airman to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is also the first female Airman killed in the line of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After Jacobson’s Death
After her death, the Air Force has established the Elizabeth N. Jacobson Award for Expeditionary Excellence which is given for outstanding performance during a deployment.
“A1C Jacobson was a great troop…always sought the hardest challenges and never gave up. She worked very hard to get on the convoy section and had only been working it for a couple of weeks when the incident occurred. She was a bright and intelligent young lady.
Elizabeth was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and an Achievement Medal.
“She loved what she was doing and she loved to be able to say that people should give her respect because without her and those like her we wouldn’t be free. She stood up for her beliefs and made everyone around her be aware of them,” said her grandmother, Sondra Millman-Cosimano of Riviera Beach.
She is survived by her father, David Jacobson; mother Marianne Earheart; three sisters; a brother; grandfather Allan Jacobson; grandparents Cos Cosimano and Sondra Millman-Cosimano; and great-grandfather Veto Cosimano.
From Jacobson’s obituary:
Elizabeth Nicole Jacobson, 21, loved Spongebob Squarepants, craved the smell of cut grass and wanted to have two children named Hunter and Austin. She hurt over a broken toe, hated angry people who argued politics and was proud to be an American although she sometimes wished she was Canadian. On Wednesday, Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Nicole Jacobson, of Riviera Beach, became the first woman from Palm Beach County to die in the Iraq war when a roadside bomb exploded near her convoy vehicle. Jacobson died near Camp Bucca, Iraq, near the southern Iraq city of Safwan. She was one of three soldiers killed in separate bombings of two American convoys within the same hour. Jacobson is the sixth Iraq casualty from Palm Beach County and the ninth from Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Published in The Palm Beach Post on Sept. 29, 2005
March 13th – Rachael Bosveld
U.S. Army Military Police – 2002 – 2003
End of Watch – October 26, 2003
Rachael Bosveld was born November 7, 1983. Rachael was raised by her foster parents Marvin Bosveld and his former wife, Mary. Rachel came to them as a neglected baby when she was 2 months old. After they separated, Rachael lived in Oshkosh with her mother but moved to Waupun with her father for her junior and senior years in high school.
Her brother, Craig Bosveld described his sister as an artist who loved to draw forest scenes, play her violin and act in her high school drama club. She hoped one day to become a graphic artist. She also acted in Waupun High School’s drama club. She played Frieda in the school rendition of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld enlisted in the Army when she graduated from high school in June 2002, following in the footsteps of her father who served in the Army in Italy from 1967-1969, and Craig, who served in the Army in Alaska.
“She idolized her brother,” Marvin Bosveld said, “I had some reservation because she was a girl. She asked me not to worry about it. She was as good as anyone.” Her mother said she desperately tried to talk her daughter out of joining the military. “I would have done anything to have her choose a different career,” Mary Bosveld said. “She said, ‘I know, Mom, but I have to do this. I want to keep up the family tradition. Except, Mom, I’m going to be the first girl in our entire family.”’
She entered boot camp at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., planning to serve in the military, and then go to college with an eye toward a career in law enforcement. In October 2002 she graduated from boot camp Her father rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri to see her graduate. She asked for a ride on the back. That, Marvin said, was his last real memory of her.
Within 5 months, Bosveld was in Iraq with the 527th Military Police. She never complained, but after eight months in the sands of Iraq, barely surviving a roadside ambush and patrolling anti-American riots, the 19-year-old military policewoman from Waupun had had enough.
“More and more people want us to go home,” she wrote in a letter to her father. “Believe me, we want to go home.” When she first got to Iraq, she was ready to “kick butt,” her father said, until Sept. 12. That was the day a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Humvee she was driving. Craig Bosveld said the Humvee burned up from the inside. His sister dislocated her shoulder trying to open the door. When she did free herself, her unit started taking small-arms fire until another Humvee arrived to help. Bosveld received her first purple heart after this attack.
In her letters Bosveld counted the days until she could leave. One focused on all the dead and abused horses she saw in Baghdad. Another talked about anti-American riots and people chanting “USA go home.” She transferred from night patrol to day patrol. She hoped she might live longer that way, Craig Bosveld said.
Line of Duty Death
Rachel Bosveld died Sunday October 26, 2003 in a mortar attack on the Abu Ghraib Police Station in Abu Ghraib, Iraq.
Bosveld became the first Wisconsin woman killed in the Iraqi conflict and the fifth soldier from the state to die in that country this year. She was also the first Military Police Woman killed in the Iraq war.
After Bosveld’s Death
Following her death, Bosveld was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and a second Purple Heart.
Mary Bosveld received three letters from her daughter, the day after the family learned she had been killed. “Mom, don’t worry so much about me,” one letter said. Mary Bosveld said her daughter wrote to her and asked her to ask newspapers in Wisconsin to do a story on the real hardships troops there face. Mary Bosveld said Rachel hoped to write a book about her experiences. Now she has to pass on her daughter’s story to reporters, as much as she hates it, she said. “I’m doing this for Rachel because this is her story,” she said.
Marvin Bosveld said the hardest part for him will be dealing with unopened birthday cards when they return. Rachel would have turned 20 on Nov. 7. “She kept assuring me she was getting her sleep, staying alert, keeping her head down and looking over her shoulder,” Marvin Bosveld said. “I can hardly believe it yet today,” he said. “That was my daughter.”
On March 21, 2013 during a memorial and dedication ceremony at Freedom Rest, Baghdad, Iraq, the Freedom’s Rest became distinguished for something more than an R&R stop, it became a site dedicated to honoring the Task Force’s fallen soldiers. An apartment building on the former Republican Guard compound was renamed in the memory of Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld. A plaque bearing her name is now a permanent part of the building’s throughway.
March 12th – Heather Fong
San Francisco PD – 1979 – 2012
Department of Homeland Security - 2014 to 2016
Born and raised in San Francisco, Heather Fong holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of San Francisco, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from San Francisco State University. Prior to entering the Department, she served as a Police Activities League Cadet and Civil Service Police Cadet.
Sworn in as a police officer in 1977, Assistant Secretary Fong worked through the ranks of inspector, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. In August 1998, she was promoted to commander and assigned to the Special Operations Division, with responsibility for Traffic, Tactical, and MUNI Transit companies. In June 2000, upon promotion to deputy chief, she was assigned to the Field Operations Bureau, where she managed the uniformed patrol force. In August 2002, Assistant Secretary Fong was assigned to the Administration Bureau to oversee the budget, planning, training, staff services, and support services of the Department, and in May 2003, was appointed Assistant Chief of Police. She was appointed Acting Chief of Police on January 22, 2004 and Chief of Police on April 14, 2004. Fong is the first Asian American Woman to serve as a police chief for a major metropolitan force. Fong served as the Chief of Police of the San Francisco Police Department for five years.
Heather Fong was the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistant Secretary for State and Local Law Enforcement. She has served in this role since November 17, 2014 until 2016. As the head of the Department’s Office for State and Local Law Enforcement, Assistant Secretary Fong was the Department’s primary liaison with nearly 18,000 state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies across the country.
March 11th – Colleen L. McGuire
United States Army Military Police / Criminal Investigations Division – 1979 – 2012
Colleen L. McGuire was commissioned in 1979 upon graduation from the University of Montana. During her time at the University of Montana she was a member of the 279th Engineer Company at Fort Missoula through the ROTC Simultaneous Program. At that time her father William McGuire was the First Sergeant of the company.
After McGuire graduated from the University of Montana, she was commissioned in the Military Police Corps. During nearly 30 years of active service, she had been assigned in key command and staff billets from platoon level to the Army staff. Her initial assignment was to Germany where she served as a platoon leader, company executive officer, and battalion logistics officer with the 709th Military Police Battalion.
In March 1989 she began her first of multiple tours in the Washington, D.C. area when she was assigned as a staff officer in the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Pentagon, and later, as the Battalion operations officer, Law Enforcement Battalion, Fort Belvoir.
In 1998, McGuire assumed command of the 705th Military Police Battalion, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Following battalion command and senior service college, she returned in 2002 to Fort Leavenworth and served as brigade commander at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, followed by a tour as the assistant commandant, U.S. Army Military Police School.
Following her tour at the Military Police School, McGuire served an 18-month deployment as the provost marshal of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. Her most recent tour in Washington began with service as the chief, Colonels Management Office, Senior Leader Development, Office of the Chief of Staff, Army.
McGuire's deployment experience also includes service as the public affairs officer for Joint Task Force-Somalia.
McGuire is a graduate of the Military Police Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Command and General Staff College, the Public Affairs Officer Course, and the Army War College. She holds a master's degree in Military Arts and Science from the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and a master's degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
On 15 January 2010, Brigadier General Colleen L. McGuire took command as the Provost Marshal General of the Army. McGuire was the 10th commander of Criminal Investigations Division since it was first established as a major command Sept. 17, 1971, and the 13th provost marshal general of the Army since 1941. She is the first woman in both positions.
Prior to her appointment as Provost Marshal, McGuire served for about two years as the director, Senior Leader Development Office, Office of the Chief of Staff, Army, while also leading the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force established 10 months ago. She assumed command of CID as the organization entered its 39th year as the Army's premier investigative agency for felony-level crime.
"I am honored to be given this privilege to command and lead," McGuire said. "The greatest honor for any Solider is to command the sons and daughters of America. It is a particular honor for me, a military police officer, to command at this level in a time of war."
Following the change-of-command ceremony, McGuire took the oath to assume responsibilities as the Army's provost marshal general. The position was first established in 1776 during the Revolutionary War, but was abolished after the war. During its long history, it was usually established during major combat, but discontinued shortly after the conflict was over.
In line with history, the secretary of the Army at the time, Thomas White, approved the re-establishment of the office, effective Sept. 26, 2003, during the Global War on Terrorism.
McGuire concluded her comments with a reminder to all that the work of the Army's law-enforcement team is never done.
"We are truly an expeditionary force," she said. "Our military police, criminal investigators, corrections experts, civilian police and support team need to maintain their edge under conditions of uncertainty and change regardless of the operational environment. To do that, we need to be, and will remain grounded and pure in our doctrine, our organizations, our training and our operations."
McGuire's awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak-leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak-leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak-leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with three oak-leaf clusters, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Senior Parachutist's Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.
Post Military / Police Career
In 2010 McGuire was awarded the University of Montana Distinguished Alumni Award. Following her military service, she was the executive director of Delta Gamma Fraternity. On March 8th 2019, McGuire was inducted into the United States Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame.
She now lives in Kalispell with her daughter and son-in-law, Maggie and Anthony Goff, and two grandsons, Conrad and Maximilian Goff. McGuire also spends time at her cattle ranch in Eastern Oregon.
March 10th – Claire Ferguson
Salt Lake City Sheriff’s Office – 1897 – ?
Claire Ferguson was appointed deputy sheriff in Salt Lake City, UT in 1897, making her the first female deputy not married or related to the sheriff in the U.S. She described her duties this way: “I am empowered to serve a writ of attachment or summons, impanel jurors, arrest a desperado, or officiate at the hanging of an outlaw. I have never had any experience worth recording in shooting off a pistol, but if it is necessary, I suppose I can learn this means of enforcing laws.”
Below is an interesting news article of the time when Feguson was appointed as a deputy.
March 9th – Karpal Kaur Sandhu
Metropolitan Police, United Kingdom – 1971 – 1973
End of Watch: 4 November 1973
She was born to a Sikh family in Zanzibar, east Africa, in 1943 and came to the UK in 1962, when she got a job as a nurse.
Karpal Kaur Sandhu served in Walthamstow and Leyton in the UK after joining the force on February 1 1971. Sandhu is the first known Asian and Sikh woman police officer.
She paved the way for many Asians and women on the force, proving invaluable as an interpreter and was drafted in to deal with CID cases all over London where a female officer was needed.
Her Chief Superintendent wrote in a report at the time that she was “proving invaluable with our dealings with the immigrant population and she is also assisting other divisions in this work and also in teaching police officers Asian dialects.”
He added that she was “energetic, intelligent and conscientious” and enjoyed playing hockey and driving.
Death of a Hero
March 8th – Edith Smith
Metropolitan Police, United Kingdom – 1915 – 1917
Not much is known about Edith Smith’s life prior to going into law enforcement, except she was born in 1880.
Edith Smith was the first woman to be sworn in as a police constable with official powers of arrest in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in December 1915. During World War I across the UK around 4000 women took on a policing function as voluntary patrols, aiming to ensure orderly behaviour in parks, railways stations and other public spaces. Others were employed by the Ministry of Munitions to supervise women workers in the munitions factories. Smith’s role was important because she had the same powers as an ordinary policeman, was employed as a member of the local police force and was answerable to the Chief Constable.
Edith Smith’s appointment was controversial. The Home Office advised that women could not be sworn in because they did not count as ‘proper persons’ in the eyes of the law. It had long been established that they could not vote in parliamentary elections or serve on juries for the same reason. In Grantham, however, the Chief Constable and Watch Committee continued to give Smith their full support because they thought her work was vital given the very particular problems that the town faced as a result of war conditions.
If Edith Smith’s appointment annoyed those who opposed women’s rights, her work was also controversial within feminist quarters. In the years before the war, suffragettes such as Nina Boyle of the Women’s Freedom League had argued that women police were needed so that female victims of crime might receive fair and sensitive treatment in courts and police stations. However, the Annual Report that Smith wrote at the end of her first year suggests that her work focused on the regulation and control of the ‘prostitutes’ and ‘frivolous girls’ who flocked through the streets of Grantham at night attracted by thousands of servicemen stationed in the town’s two army camps.
This phenomenon of ‘khaki fever’ had cemented the argument for the deployment of women police. Smith ensured that young women who engaged in ‘unseemly conduct’ were placed on a ‘Black List’ and barred from the town’s theatres and cinemas. A total of 100 ‘wayward girls’ and 50 ‘prostitutes’ were cautioned, whilst a further 40 women were convicted of prostitution-related offences by the town’s magistrates as a result of her work. The Annual Report states that ‘fallen women’ had left town because ‘the policewoman was such a nuisance’.
Smith also provided information for ‘husbands placing their wives under observation during their absence’, effectively acting as an official spy for servicemen concerned about spousal fidelity. It was this emphasis on the moral regulation and oppressive surveillance of women that led other feminists, such as Boyle, to sever their ties from the movement to promote the employment of policewomen.
Edith Smith was undoubtedly successful in what she set out to do in Grantham. Dorothy Peto, another pioneer (who headed up the Metropolitan Women Police Branch in the 1930s-40s), described her as ‘of outstanding personality, fearless, motherly and adaptable’. A widow and former midwife, Smith would approach couples who were lying on the grass in the park and ‘addressing them with motherly frankness, she pointed out the dangers of the situation and appealed to their chivalry for the protection of the girls’. There were very real concerns about venereal disease, given that effective cures were only just emerging, during the First World War. Similarly, the stigma associated with births outside of marriage left single mothers in vulnerable positions, with the workhouse often the only option. Edith Smith knew this, and she worked with hostel workers and health visitors to enable better support. Edith Smith’s actions were both understandable and brave in the context of the First World War.
In 1918, after the conclusion of war, women gained the parliamentary vote for the first time if they were over 30 and householders or the wives of householders. Of equal significance was the 1919 Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act. This stated that a person could not be ‘disqualified by sex or marriage from the exercise of any public function’. The Baird Committee of 1920, which looked at employment of women on police duties, agreed there was no longer a legal justification for excluding women. Yet it also stated that the duties performed by women should be restricted to those involving females and child victims or complainants and that it was up to local police authorities to decide whether women were needed in their area.
Life After Law Enforcement
Smith left the service after working seven days a week for a period of two years. She died at the age of 44 after she took an overdose of morphia (morphine) in 1924, five years after leaving the force.
March 7th – Natalie Corona
Davis Police Department – 2018 – 2019
End of Watch – January 10, 2019
Natalie Corona was born on July 26, 1996 to Merced and Lupe Corona in Arbuckle, CA. Corona’s father, Merced, was a seasoned Colusa County Sheriff’s Deputy and from a young age Corona expressed a desire to become a police officer like her father. Her three sisters and cousins commented all Corona talked about was cops and becoming a police officer growing up. In school Corona was a 4.0 student, played volleyball and basketball, as well as becoming the homecoming queen. After high school, Corona went to Woodland Community College and received an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Officer Corona started her career with the Davis Police Department in 2016 as a part-time volunteer Community Service Officer (CSO) while attending college. Even while employed as a CSO it was clear to Davis PD she was going to be a cop. Officers described her as exuding energy and the confidence of a seasoned officer. Funding for Corona’s CSO position was lost and Corona stayed on as a volunteer working more hours than when she was in a paid position as labor laws didn’t apply to volunteers.
In January 2018 she attended the police academy in Sacramento, graduating in July 2018. While at the academy Corona fractured both of her shins, but continued despite her injuries. Corona was offered a position with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), but turned them down as she was set on working for Davis PD.
On August 2nd 2018, Corona was sworn as an officer for Davis PD and her father had the honor to pin her badge on her uniform. Corona completed her field training in December 2018.
Since she became an officer, Corona had made a few arrests and assisted in investigating an armed robbery. Corona was very compassionate and to help care for victims of the Camp fire, she spent her salary to buy them Christmas gifts. Natalie's father recalled that Natalie was so enthusiastic about her job and talking about it that they tried to turn off the lights at night and pretend that they were asleep, only to be woken up by Natalie telling them about her day's work.
Line of Duty Death
On January 10, 2019 Natalie Corona was shot and killed after responding to a report of a three-car vehicle crash and became the first woman officer killed in the line of duty in 2019.
As Officer Corona was conducting an investigation at the collision scene, when a person not involved with the crash rode up to the scene on a bicycle. As Officer Corona spoke to one of the persons involved in the crash the man then walked up to her and opened fire without warning, striking her. He shot her several more times after she fell to the ground before shooting randomly at other bystanders and vehicles.
The subject fled into a nearby home. As responding officers searched for him, he emerged from the home wearing body armor, yelled at the officers, and then re-entered the home. He committed suicide moments later.
Officer Corona was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where she died from her wounds.
Funeral for a Hero
A memorial service for Officer Corona was held on January 18, 2019 at the UCD ARC Pavilion. Bagpipes played inside a packed UC Davis ARC Pavilion and over 5,000 police officers from around the country stood in salute as an honor guard placed the flag-draped casket of slain 22-year-old Officer Natalie Corona front and center.
The main speakers included Officer Corona's immediate supervisor Sgt. Labbe, Chief Pytel, Natalie's sister, and Natalie's father. Sgt. Labbe asserted that although Officer Corona was called a rookie by the media, she carried herself as a seasoned officer and did everything right on that night. She was an angel among humans becoming an angel among angels. Chief Pytel commented that while they may never know why the shooting occurred, Natalie had touched everyone she met and inspired them to be a better person.
Singer Billy Ray Cyrus sang, and called Corona an angel, “a light in this world that won’t be forgotten.” Speakers described a radiant woman, mature and focused beyond her years.
She received a Purple Heart for taking wounds by hostile gunfire in the line of duty, a Medal of Distinction, and the Cantrill Citation named after Douglas Cantrill, who was the last Davis PD officer killed on duty in 1959.
March 6th – Alaska Packard Davidson
Bureau of Investigation (Now the FBI) – 1922 - 1924
Alaska Packard Davidson was born in Warren, Ohio, on March 1, 1868, to Warren and Mary Elizabeth Doud Packard. Her two brothers, James Ward Packard and William Doud Packard, founded Packard, an automobile manufacturer later taken over by Studebaker.
Little is preserved about her personal life, except that she only had three years of public schooling and no university education and that she had one child, Esther, who died in 1902.
She died on July 16, 1934, at the age of 66.
On October 11, 1922, at age 54, Davidson was hired by director William J. Burns to work at the Bureau of Investigation (the former name of the FBI) as a special investigator and is considered the first female special agent. Trained in New York City, she was later assigned to the Washington, D.C. field office. Her starting salary was $7 a day plus $4 when traveling.
The Bureau was interested in hiring female agents to work on cases related to the Mann Act, which aimed to combat interstate sex trafficking. However, since she was considered "very refined", the order was given that she wasn't to be put on "rough" cases. This, combined with her limited schooling, meant that she was considered to be of limited use when it came to prosecuting such crimes. During her work at the Washington field office, she was also involved in a case against another agent who was selling classified Department of Justice information to criminals.
After J. Edgar Hoover became acting director of the Bureau in 1924 following the Teapot Dome scandal, he asked for Davidson's resignation when the Special Agent in Charge at the Washington field office reported that he had "no particular work for a woman agent". She resigned on June 10, 1924.
Only three women became agents in the 1920s and, with the resignation of Davidson and fellow agents Jessie B. Duckstein in 1924 and Lenore Houston in 1928, the FBI had no female agents between 1929 and 1972.
March 5th - Josephine Serrano Collier
Los Angeles Police Department – 1946 - 1960
The daughter of Mexican parents, Josephine Serrano Collier was born in Arizona before they moved to Mexico after her brother lost a leg in a mining accident. They had to hurriedly flee north when another brother was threatened with death by Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. The family would settle in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood in east LA.
After working at Lockheed-Martin during World War II, Serrano found herself out of a job when soldiers returned from the front and women were no longer needed. She went to work in a drug store until a co-worker told her that the Los Angeles Police Department was looking to hire a new group of female officers.
Serrano applied to join the force along with 200 other women. Only 21 would graduate from the police academy in 1946. And within six months there were only nine left including Ms. Serrano who was the first Latina to serve on the LAPD.
Joining the LAPD at the age of 23, she and her fellow female officers were not treated in the same way as their male counterparts. They received no diploma upon graduation, no gun, and no uniform (they were not yet designed). Paid $200 a month, women were assigned to either juvenile detention or the Lincoln Heights jail. Ms. Serrano ended up at the latter, where the officers were forced to wear nurses uniforms in place of the not-yet-ready police attire.
Later, after she and her colleagues were issued guns, Ms. Serrano walked a beat in LA’s Pershing Square. They worked undercover in a dress, high heels, hat and gloves.
Post Law Enforcement Life
Josephine Serrao married Jack Collier in 1948 and retired from the force in 1960 due to a back injury. She later worked as a counselor with the Job Corps in L.A. until her and her husband moved to Idaho and took up cattle raising on the Snake River. She passed away on February 25, 2014 at the age of 91. As of October 2013, the LAPD had 842 Latina officers on the force, 45% of all women serving. (However, they make up only 8.5% of the total force of 9,909 around the time of Serrano’s death.) At the time of her death in 2014, Chief Charlie Beck said Collier broke the “lines that divided women from many assignments in the early history of the LAPD” and “opened the door for many women and Latinas in the department.”
March 4th - Gail Cobb
Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia - 1973 - 1974
Gail Cobb was born in Washington, D.C., on August 17, 1950, the second of five children, and grew up at a row house near the intersection of 14th and D Streets in Northeast, Washington, D.C. Cobb's family moved to Washington, D.C., in the 1930s. Her father was Clinton Cobb, a correctional officer for the District of Columbia who tried to apply to the MPDC in 1953, but was rejected due to being shorter than five feet and eight inches tall. Cobb's mother was Gloria Cobb, a crossing guard at Kingsman Elementary School, who met Cobb's father at Cardoza High School. Cobb's sister, Denise, ultimately went on to become a schoolteacher.
As a child, Cobb attended Catholic schools and was described as an average, but creative and energetic student. She attended Elliot Jr. High School, Eastern High School, and the now-defunct St. Cecilia's Academy. Upon graduating St. Cecila's Academy in 1969, Cobb wanted to become a successful fashion designer. However, she had little means and knowledge on how to go about doing so and ended up becoming a long-distance operator at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company.
Cobb, a single mother, gave birth to a son, Damon Demetrius Cobb, on February 26, 1970. Her son's father, whom Cobb had met in high school, took no responsibility for his son, and Cobb ended up trying to raise him on her own.
In October 1973, Cobb applied to become an officer with the MPDC, much to the surprise of her family and friends, after the Washington, D.C., government lowered the height requirements for police recruits to five feet tall (Cobb herself was exactly five feet tall). Cobb graduated from her 34-member police academy class in April 1974, of which 13 members were female. She was well-liked by her trainers, who noted that she was hard-working. She spent most of her patrol work on foot and signed up for training to get a scooter license and was taking a night class to learn sign language.
Death on the Job
Late in the morning of Friday, September 20, 1974, around 10:30 am, two men, John Curtis Dortch, a 29-year-old Howard University graduate and former U.S. Army soldier from Silver Spring, Maryland, and John William Bryant, a 24-year-old man from Washington, D.C., began making their way to the Eastern Liberty Federal Savings and Loan bank at 21st and L Streets NW, disguised as construction workers, and each carrying a sawed-off shotgun and handgun. Their intent was to rob the bank.
Two plainclothes police officers were alerted of the robbery in advance and saw the two men on the street. The officers stopped them and asked them for identification, before the would-be robbers could even get inside the bank. The two men ran off in separate directions. Cobb was still on probationary duty six months out of the academy and was assigned to foot patrol duty downtown, a block away from the bank. Cobb, who was writing a traffic ticket at the time, was told by a citizen that they saw an armed man run into a garage. Cobb followed the suspect and confronted him inside the garage as he was in the process of changing out of his disguise. Cobb ordered the man to place his hands on the wall. As she called for assistance over her radio, the suspect spun around and fired a single gunshot at Cobb at close range. The bullet went through Cobb's wrist, shattering a wristwatch that was given to her by her mother as a birthday present, then through her police radio, where it then penetrated her heart. Cobb died at the scene at 20th Street and L Street, NW, and responding officers arrested the suspect at the scene.
Cobb had served with the MPDC for one year and was the first female MPDC officer to be killed in the line of duty, as well as the first African American female law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in the United States. She was survived by her son, Damon Demetrius Cobb, and is buried at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland, near the border between Washington, D.C., and Prince George's County, Maryland.
Cobb's funeral was ornate and large, even by Washington, D.C.'s standards. The streets leading to Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Southeast, Washington, D.C., were lined with hundreds of police officers, some coming all the way from Hawaii, all standing at attention. A police honor guard made several passes along East Capitol Street before entering the church.
Delegations of uniformed officers filed past Cobb's open casket. Cobb was not buried in uniform; instead, she was wearing a green suit. Her best friend had styled her hair, applied her favorite makeup, and finished with gold hoop earrings that would have been strictly forbidden by uniform regulations for a police officer on duty.
The Mayor of the District of Columbia, Walter Washington, and FBI Director Clarence Kelley were among the many U.S. government officials who attended the crowded service on Tuesday, September 24, 1974. At the hour of the funeral, U.S. President Gerald R. Ford called for a moment of silence as he addressed an International Association of Police Chiefs conference being held across town.
Several weeks after Cobb's funeral, her parents purchased a glass curio cabinet in which to house memorabilia regarding their daughter. They displayed a photograph of Cobb in her MPDC uniform, her police badge, along with a 45 rpm copy of her favorite song, "Tell Her Love Has Felt the Need", by Eddie Kendricks and the Young Senators, which had been sung at her funeral, along with proclamations and letters from government officials, and the uniform boots that Cobb had been wearing when she died. Given an entire section all to its own was a letter from U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, saying that Cobb "has our lasting admiration for the cause of law enforcement and the well-being of our society, a cause for which she made the highest sacrifice."
March 3rd - Georgia Ann Hill
Los Angeles Police Department - 1916 - 1928
Georgia Ann Hill was born in Opelousas, Louisiana, on 12 May 1879. She was brought up first by an older sister, then in a convent. She moved to Kansas when she was 18, working as a governess. She married Morgan Robinson there, and the couple moved to Colorado, and then to Los Angeles.
Robinson was an active suffragist while a young woman in Colorado, and was a key organizer and office holder in the Los Angeles branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
In 1916, when the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was facing a shortage of officers after many enlisted to fight in World War I, Robinson was recruited to leave her community work to join LAPD as a volunteer.
She was appointed to the position of police officer in 1919, the first African-American policewoman at the LAPD, and one of the first in the United States. Robinson's appointment is regarded as a landmark for a second reason, as "her duty, to refer young black women to social agencies rather than arrest them was one of the first attempts by the LAPD to provide services to the black community and dispel the idea that African Americans were naturally predisposed to crime". Robinson also worked on juvenile and homicide cases.
Robinson's police career was cut short in 1928, when a prisoner banged her head into jail bars, causing a head injury so severe that she permanently lost her sight.
Life After Law Enforcement
She went on to found a shelter for women and girls called the Sojourner Truth Home.
She continued community work and activism, supporting the shelter, continuing her involvement in the NAACP, and campaigning to desegregate schools and beaches.
“I have no regrets. I didn't need my eyes any longer. I had seen all there was to see.”
—Georgia Robinson, 1954
She married Morgan Robinson in Kansas, and they had a daughter, Marian. She is said to have often brought underprivileged women and children home with her for dinner. Robinson was interviewed by Ebony Magazine in 1954. She died in Los Angeles on 21 September 1961.
March 2nd - Isabella Goodwin
New York Police Department - 1896 - 1926 (est)
Isabella Goodwin was born in Greenwich Village, Manhattan in 1865. Around 1885, she married John W. Goodwin, a police officer and the couple had six children, of which four survived. John Goodwin passed away in 1896 when Isabella was 30 years old.
The New York City police department had only started hiring women (“police matrons") to look after female and child prisoners in 1881. When Goodwin applied for a job after her husband died, she had to pass an exam then was hired as a jail matron by then police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (who later became the president of the United States.) It was a low paid position, making only $1000/year, and she only had one day off each month. She served in this position for 15 years and began going undercover to investigate crimes, while her mother watched her children.
In 1912, there was a case involving a midday robbery where "taxi bandits" beat up two clerks and stole $25,000 in downtown Manhattan. Even with 60 detectives assigned to the case, no one could solve the robbery. The story was followed nationally, according to a New York Times article at the time. After going undercover, Goodwin cracked the case and as a result, she was appointed as New York's first female detective and given the rank of 1st grade lieutenant. Her salary was raised from $1000 to $2,250/year. During her career, she specialized in exposing fortune tellers and swindlers.
In 1921, she married a man that was 30 years younger than her and kept her last name. She continued working after her marriage, which was not common at the time for a woman. When she retired, she had worked for the NYC police department for 30 years.
March 1st - Alice Stebbins Wells
Los Angeles Police Department - 1910-1940
Alice was a graduate of Oberlin College and Hartford Theological Seminary, where a study she conducted concluded there was a large need for woman officers. She also previously served as a minister in Kansas and a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Wells joined the Los Angeles Police Department after a long battle of petitioning with many citizens who supported her or that she persuaded. With such a huge community reaction the mayor, police commissioner, and the Los Angeles city council had no other excuse but to let Alice become the first policewoman in the LAPD and was classified under civil service. Wells went on to become the founder and first president of the International Policewomen's Association and traveled throughout America and Canada to promote female officers.
Since 1891, law enforcement agencies had employed women only for the care of female prisoners. After Wells successfully petitioned for a place on the LAPD and was sworn in on September 12, 1910, she was hired and equipped with a telephone call box key, a police rule book and first aid book, and the "Policewoman's Badge Number One". Wells was responsible for hand sewing her own police uniform, which was the first police woman's uniform in the United States. It was a floor-length dress and jacket. A reproduction of this very outfit is on display at The Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum. Wells was assigned to work with the LAPD's first juvenile officer, and was quickly the subject of an order issued by the force that ruled that young women could now only be questioned by female police officers. Wells began her career supervising skating rinks and dance halls, as well as interacting with female members of the public. In addition, although Wells was a sworn officer she was not entitled to carry a gun, unlike male officers. Two years after Wells joined the force, two other female officers were sworn in, with all female officers now under the control of the Civil Service. Sixteen other cities and several foreign countries hired female police officers as a direct result of Wells' activities by 1915, when Wells created the International Policewomen's Association. She always advocated for more women officers to help youth in need and women who might not feel comfort in speaking to policemen. Wells also founded, and was the president of, the Los Angeles Social Hygiene Society where she supported sex education in the city of Los Angeles.
Contribution to modern female policing
Due to Wells's advocacy for women's and children's rights, more women were recruited after the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 to undertake community policing assignments. This is due in part because policewomen were thought to be better at defusing potentially violent situations than policemen.
Nationwide publicity and retirement
The appointment of Wells attracted nationwide attention. In 1914, she was the subject of a biographical film entitled The Policewoman. The University of California created the first course dedicated to the work of female police officers in 1918, and Wells was made the first president of the Women's Peace Officers Association of California in 1928. In 1934 she was also made the LAPD historian, and by 1937 there were 39 female officers in the LAPD, and five reserves. Wells remained the department's historian until she retired on November 1, 1940. She is remembered for having "fought for the idea that women, as regular members of municipal police departments, are particularly well-qualified to perform protective and preventative work among juveniles and female criminals." Wells died in 1957, and her funeral was attended by high-ranking officers from the LAPD, and a ten-woman honor guard.