Sunday, April 4, 2010

Honouring Women Who Broke Police Gender Barrier

From - Law Enforcement News:
Toting guns in their purses, wearing skirts and heels, the first female deputies started patrol work at the Sheriff's Department in 1972.

On Monday, deputies lined up at Altadena Community Center to salute the trio of women who broke the gender barrier at the sheriff's Altadena Station: Judy Preimsberger, Judy Evans and the late Charlene "Charlie" Rottler.

"The women on patrol were told to carry their guns in their purses and wear high heels," recalled Carol Freeman, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who was one of 12 women who became patrol deputies that year.

The women said they complied with the rules -- to a point.

"That was our uniform standard but we did what we needed to do, to not jeopardize our own safety and the safety of our patrols," Preimsberger said.

In the station, or at publicized events, the women carried their pistols in their purses to comply with the uniform code.

In the field, they improvised by rigging their own holsters and tucking their handcuffs into the back of their skirts, Freeman said. Some women deputies took to wearing shorts under their skirts and sneakers or flat shoes instead of heels, she said.

More than three decades later, Sheriff Lee Baca and a room packed with dignitaries and deputies from across Los Angeles County hailed the women's contribution, and unveiled a hall of fame in their honor at the Altadena Station.

Preimsberger and Evans received plaques and Denise Alvarado accepted the plaque for her mother, Charlene Rottler, who died in January.

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