Monday, September 7, 2009

Women Police Global Update #2

Women police officers continue to make tremendous contributions to police work worldwide and to our global community.

In India, for instance, a recent interview with Dr. Kiran Bedi (above left) reveals how this remarkable woman -- India's first and highest ranking woman police officer -- continues to be a force for change. A long-time social activist, Dr. Bedi is the founder of two NGO’s in India: Navjyoti for welfare and preventive policing and India Vision Foundation for prison reforms, drug abuse prevention and child welfare. Read the fascinating interview here.

In the United Kingdom, the London Metropolitan Police used a new strategy at the recent International Climate Camp conference: put women officers in charge of the operation. Read about the reasoning behind this decision in The Guardian.

In South East Europe, the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) is supporting the creation of a South East European Police Women’s Network. Chief Insp Jane Townsley, president of the IAWP, recently attended an international conference in Belgrade where she declared:

“Women police officers bring unique and invaluable skills to criminal justice agencies around the world and I am delighted to have this opportunity to assist in the creation of a new policewomen’s network.... There is an obvious need within this region for a women’s network and the passion and commitment demonstrated to me by those attending the meeting should be embraced and supported.” Read more....

And in the United States,

the New York City Police Department (NPYD) recently honored the city’s first Asian-American policewoman, Agnes Chan. The 30-year veteran received the Lifetime Achievement Award, according to Asian Week. More....

Monday, August 24, 2009

IAWP Annual conference in Seattle, September 20-24, 2009

The International Association of Women Police (IAWP) will hold its annual conference this year in Seattle, Washington, United States. The conference will be held at the Westin Hotel September 20-24, 2009. Featured guests include true crime author Ann Rule and Colonel Katherine Miller, Deputy Provost Marshal General/Commander U.S. Army Corrections Command.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

“Women police officers are essential, along with their male counterparts, to providing the stability of peace and security.”

... So said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during her recent visit to the West African country of Liberia. Speaking at the National Police Training Academy, Secretary Clinton promised the United States would provide more aid to help train officers. Her visit was welcomed by the United Nations envoy to Africa and was covered by the African Press Organization and the Liberian Daily Observer .

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Women Police Global Update #1

There have been many stories recently that shed light on the role of policewomen and female cops in countries around the world. For instance, The New Straits Times recently interviewed Zaharah Routin Ibrahim, who in 1955 became of one of the first seven policewomen in Malaysia.

And here in the United States women continue to break new ground. At Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, female cops became the first motorcycle officers on the university campus.

WSU officers Eleshia Kelly and Shannon White-Thomas were two of four officers who passed the Detroit Police Department's motorcycle certification program in June 2009 according to a university press release.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's A Small World -- Tony Award-Winner's Mother Was a Seattle Policewoman

Lillian Mitchell became Seattle's first African American policewoman when she joined the Seattle Police Department in 1955. In addition to being a pioneer in the police world, she was also the mother of actor/singer Brian Stokes Mitchell, who won a Tony Award in 2000 for Kiss Me, Kate.

In the photo above, Lillian Mitchell (left) appears as one of only two policewomen in her academy class in 1956; the other was Karen Ejde.

Lillian Mitchell (left) is seen riding in a 1950s-era patrol car with Policewoman Helen Karas. Photos courtesy of the Seattle Police Department.

Female Police Officers Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $5 Million

For those who think sexual harassment is a thing of the past, consider this: The Oakland Tribune reported today that 14 female police officers settled a harassment lawsuit with the Hayward Police Department near San Francisco for close to $5 million.

According to the article written by Eric Kurhi, the lawsuit alleged "...the Police Department had an atmosphere in which many males considered their jobs to be 'men's work,' and openly expressed the opinion that women were unfit to wield power or authority. Also, 'female officers are encouraged to make themselves sexually available to men in the department,' and 'a discriminatory culture exists in which female employees are regarded as "fair game" for potential sexual conquests.'

The suit also alleged female cops who accepted the sexual advances were favored for promotions, women who complained suffered retaliation, and lesbian officers were "targeted for conversion." In addition, claims of harassment against one female officer included her being shown a videotape of her husband -- also a cop -- having sex with a dispatcher.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009


Hi. This is the very first entry. My hope is that this blog will serve as a living history, a chance for female officers to share their stories and experiences. In the coming months, I will post reviews of my new book, A Different Shade of Blue: How Women Changed the Face of Police Work. I will also include stories posted elsewhere on the web that concern women police officers, and will add stories as they are submitted to my blog.