Happy international women’s day! I have done some research and found 5 women that all broke though barriers made because of gender. And of course these women are within law enforcement, because well… It fits with the true crime theme I’ve got going on here on the blog.
The first woman I want to show you is Isabella Goodwin. She was New York City’s first female investigator. She became an investigator in 1912 after she had served the NYPD as a matron. As a matron Isabella Goodwin oversaw women that were arrested. Later, Isabella Goodwin went undercover several times working for the police where she helped arresting a gang of robbers.
The next woman is Alice Stebbin Wells she joined police even earlier than Isabella Goodwin. In 1910 Alice Wells joined Los Angeles Police Department. She worked with missing persons cases, juvenile offenders and supervision of entertainment venues.
Alice Stebbin Wells is considered to be the one paving the way for women in law enforcement. In 1915 the International Policewomen’s Association was created.
Heather Fong is next in line of women I think is worth mentioning. In 2004 she became the first woman to lead the policedepartment in San Francisco. To top it off she was the first female Asian American chief of a big city police force. Isn’t that just bad ass?
Heather Fong was a long time cop that played a central role in investigating the Golden Dragon massacre case in Chinatown.
Next in line is Josephine Serrano Collier. When she applied to become a policewoman for LAPD in 1946, she lost the support of her family and fiancé. During this period of time there were a lot of mistrust between the Latino community and law enforcement. Josephine, being a Latina officer, wasn’t allowed to attend to the graduation ceremony and she didn’t get a gun either.
Even though Josephine Collier had to deal with so much resistance against her she served the police until 1960. At the end she got to work undercover and even got a service weapon.
When she died in 2014, Chief Charlie Beck said that Josephine broke the lines that divided women from many assignments in the early history of the LAPD.
Last but not least we have Georgia Ann Robinson. Georgia was the first black female police officer to work for Los Angeles Police Department. In 1916 she was hired based in her strong work for community organisations throughout LA, where she bagan as a volunteer before she became a officer where she was hired to be a jail matron in 1919 (just like Isabella Goodwin). Georgia also worked as an investigator in juvenile and homicide cases. Throughout her life she started a much-needed women’s shelter in the city during her time as a cop, and her work for LA’s citizens continued as civil rights activism after she got an injury during work that ended her career in law enforcement prematurely.
A giant high-five to all the cool women in the world!
True Crime geek