There are many stereotypes that women in the law enforcement field have to face throughout their career. Women are often troubled with being taken serious as a crime fighter, or if a women would ever be allowed to become a police officer. Women are usually viewed as to gentle, emotional, or weak. In my research paper you will learn the history of women in law enforcement and how women have the same intelligence, compassion, and communication as a male officer.
Women have struggled since the 1800’s to have a career in law enforcement and to be treated with the same respect as male officers. The early history of women police consisted of social service, in which women had to meet high standards for police employment, but received lower wages, were restricted to a special unit or bureau, and were assigned to clerical, juvenile, guard duty and vice work. Women police were not promoted, only in their own women’s unit and weren’t allowed to take the same promotion test as men. On April 1, 1908, Lola Baldwin was sworn in as a female detective to perform police service for the city of Portland, Oregon. She was the first women to become a law enforcement officer. Her previous work was so effective that Baldwin won the support of the mayor, city council, and police chief to make her position on the police department. Although being accepted on the police department, she was still limited to serve “women duties”. Stated on http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/, she was hired to serve as the Superintendent of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Police Department for Protection of Girls. Baldwin along with others did not view herself as the same as that of uniform male officers. She never wore a uniform or carried a firearm, rarely flashed her badge, and seldom made arrest. Her office was not even in a police station but in a local YMCA. Baldwin retired from the Portland Police Department in 1922 but remained an active as an advocate. She was on the Oregon Parole Board, National Board, National Board of Prisons and Prison Labor. She also traveled the country arguing in favor of more women in the police departments and for better protection for young women. Many of her ideas evolved into community and preventative policing ideas that continue to be practiced. Baldwin died in Portland on June 22, 1957. Her log books and records are on display in the Portland Police Museum.
During these times the police department only made uniform for male officers, which made the female officers look unprofessional and uncomfortable. It made it very hard to do their job, and could hardly walk in the heavy, loose fitting uniform. They were limited to two choices, high waist pants (pants pattern from the 1990’s) or they could war men’s pants. This demonstrates examples of how women were taken advantage of and over looked.
Alice Stebbins Wells was also one of the earliest female officers. Wells joined the Los Angeles Police Department after petitioning the mayor, police commissioner...