Criminal Justice School Info

History of Women in Law Enforcement

Lola Baldwin- first female police officer

Lola Baldwin

In 1845, six women were hired by the New York City Police Department. At that time they were called police matrons and their job was to monitor and assist with minors and women inmates. After an assault took place on a young female prisoner 1891, it was determined that women and men inmates should be housed separately and matrons became a more important role. In 1908, the first female police officer, Lola Baldwin, was hired to carry out standard law enforcement duties. In 1910, Alice Wells was also hired by the LAPD. By 1912, Isabella Goodwin was the first woman to make Detective and in 1917, additional women were allowed to make arrests and carry out the same duties as their male counterparts. Source (NYPD website &

Historical Timeline for Women in Law Enforcement

1845 - First female Police Matrons hired by NYPD
1893 - Marie Owens appointed to assist with cases involving women & children
1908 - First Female "Police Officer" - Lola Baldwin
1910 - Alice Wells hired by LAPD
1912 - First female to make Detective - Isabella Goodwin
1915 - International Association of Police Women is formed
1918 - First female Homicide Detective - Mary Sullivan
1919 - First African American Woman in NYPD - Cora Parchment
1968 - First Female Patrol Officer
1985 - First female Police Chief - Penny Harrington in Portland, Oregon
1994 - First African American Female Police Chief
2011 - 13% of law enforcement personnel are women

Women in Law Enforcement Resources: