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Women in Law Enforcement

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“Women in Law Enforcement”


For the last twenty years it has been proven that women in law enforcement bring a unique perspective to policing. Women in law enforcement have struggled to become accepted and respected at federal, state and local levels. Women that enter law enforcement need to prove their emotional and physical strength.

There are many reasons why women want to be part of law enforcement, from financial and job security, to prestige and reward. The truth is that a woman that knowingly steps into a world where she is expected to fail will have to work harder as she seeks equality.

In the early 1820s Quaker women were paid to provide religious and secular training to women and juvenile inmates. The importance that women had in these positions was crucial. In cities of over twenty-thousand, such as New York and Massachusetts, legislature was passed requiring to hire paid police matrons. However, the police matrons had no police powers. In 1845 the first “matrons” were appointed by the New York Police Department, but it was not until 1878 that they became police department employees. (Vila & Morris, 1999)

In the late 1800s some women were unofficially appointed to complete the positions of their late sheriff husbands, such as Ms. Latty , the wife of Sheriff James Latty, from Iowa. In 1918 Ms. Banister, from Coleman County, Texas, was officially known as the first woman Sheriff in the country. She performed diligently her duties as Sheriff and as a mother. When elections came up, she was invited to participate, but she declined and moved near her family. In 1926 the first woman sheriff was elected in Kansas. (Wells and Alt, 2005)

The first police woman was hired in Portland, Oregon in 1905. In that same year the Indianapolis police department took a crucial step by assigning two female...

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