Friday, August 5, 2011

Patricia Longinette

Before Patricia Longinette joined in 1951, the St. Louis Police Department was a man's world.

The department had been hiring "policewomen" since 1916. But they weren't allowed to carry a gun or badge or make arrests.

Mrs. Longinette — then Patricia Murphy — and six other women who graduated from the Police Academy with her became the first female officers with the same authority as men.

Patricia Longinette died Tuesday (Aug. 2, 2011) at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur after a respiratory illness. She was 81 and had lived in Bridgeton.

She was one of the first female officers assigned to the traffic and vice divisions.

The old Globe-Democrat ran a feature story on Mrs. Longinette under the headline: "She carries a gun, but she's just another working girl." One photo showed her vacuuming the rug in her home.

She married a police officer and retired from the department in 1959 after having three children. She later had a fourth child, was divorced and took up teaching. She retired from the old All Souls Catholic School in Overland in 1993 and kept in touch with the surviving members of that first class of women.

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