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First Female in the L.A.P.D

 

Mrs. Lucy Thompson Gray , in 1888, became the first woman
to enter Los Angeles Police Department employment. Her
duties largely concerned female prisoners. Mrs. Gray was
successful in reforming female offenders and the prevention
of juvenile delinquency. She established her residence
within the City Jail. In 1910, Alice Stebbins Wells became
the first female anywhere in the world to join the ranks of
sworn personnel. She retired after 30 years of pioneer
service. Minnie Barton was the Department's second
policewoman. Ms. Barton founded the Minnie Barton Home for
Girls in 1917 which was to become the present Big Sister
League. In 1929, Rose V. Pickerel was the first female
officer assigned to walk a beat. There were no females
sergeants in the Department until 1945 when Leola Vess and
Laura Churchill attained the distinction. The first rank of
sergeant was awarded in 1950 to Vivian Wilson Strange. The
extreme changes that have occurred since the days of Alice
Stebbein Wells find over 900 females officers presently in
the Los Angeles Police Department. This was a result of the
adoption by the Department of its Unisex policy.
 
In 1895, Robert William Stewart was the City's first Black
officer. Georgia Robinson made history in 1916 as the
Department's first Black policewoman. The first Black
female sergeant was Vivian W. Strange. Willie L. William,
former police commissioner of Philadelphia, was sworn in on
June 26, 1992 as the first black chief in the history of
the Los Angeles Police Department.
 
The actions of LADP resulted in two major riots, the Watts
riot and the riots of the Rodney King verdict. The Watts
riot was one of the most violent social events to confront
the Los Angeles Police Department occurred on August of
1965. For seven days the south central Los Angeles
community of Watts was engulfed in rioting and looting. The
worst riot in the United States in the 190's erupted in Los
Angeles on April 29, 1992. In five days of violence,
looting and arson, more than 50 people died and hundreds
more were injured. The rioting was ignited by the verdict
in the case of Rodney G. King, a black motorist who was
beaten in March 1991 by four white Los Angeles Police
Department officers after a high-speed pursuit. A bystander
videotaped the beating, which was shown widely on
television, attracted national attention. 

 




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