WOMEN IN THE DEPARTMENT 100th ANNIVERSARY
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of sworn Policewomen on the Department. During the month of September, the Department will be hosting events to commemorate the history, achievements and leadership of women in the LAPD as well as the Department’s commitment to the next generation of women officers. Throughout my career, I have worked with many hard working and exceptional women in different assignments. I can proudly call them my partners. It’s not the gender, rather competency that makes a great partner. This Department has women in every rank with the exception of Chief of Police. And the competition last fall included two women who were eligible and competent. The LAPD has come a long way!
As I reflect on the history of women in the Department and how jobs for our women have transitioned greatly during the last century, I am very proud. Now in 2010, we boast of almost 1,900 sworn women of varying ranks and approximately 2,100 female civilian support personnel of the rank of Police Administrator III to Clerk Typist and everything in between. The doors to specialized units, traditionally dominated by males, have been opened for good and opportunities are greater than ever. From our Cadets, Reserve Officers, SWAT, Air Support, Bomb Squad, Mounted Unit, K-9, Motors, Gangs, Narcotics to Robbery-Homicide Division. I, like many of you, have seen firsthand how this Department has transformed and diversity is one of the hallmarks of this Department. Our women and men together demonstrate daily leadership in law enforcement.
I hope all of you have the opportunity to attend some of the scheduled events commemorating this historic milestone. Please check our LAN for additional information and visit the PAB lobby to view the “LAPD On Display” dedicated to The Women Sworn to Protect and to Serve during the month of September. The exhibit, made possible by the Los Angeles Police Historical Society, will feature a historic photograph display and female officers’ uniforms dating back from the last 100 years. It is truly impressive to say the least.
I believe this milestone is of national importance for law enforcement therefore we will appropriately honor the brave women who paved the road during difficult times in our profession. From the hiring of Alice Stebbins Wells in 1910 to the retirement of the last Policewoman in 2007, Policewomen have contributed greatly to the safety of this community. In the early 1970’s the Department ceased to hire Policewomen. Nonetheless, women have continued to serve in major roles within the Department. The implementation of the Unisex Program in the 1970’s, was the beginning of the Department’s transition from hiring men and women under separate job titles, (Policewomen and Policemen) to the single job classification of Police Officer.
Over the years, women have had to overcome many obstacles including the disparity of equal pay, rank, and work assignments. Their struggles are often briefly stated but rarely elaborated. Specifically, the struggles of women have included legal, societal and physical barriers. Each transition was forged with blood, sweat and tears and unfortunately lawsuits. Society itself set the tone.
In the 1800’s women were not legally able to hold the job of policeman. Those hired as police matrons were restricted in their job assignments with no career path. Their duties were confined to the jail or dealing with juveniles. As society progresses the Department allowed women to progress to the Policewoman, whose duties were initially restricted to assignments in the jail, juvenile divisions, desk duty and/or administrative. In the early 1930’s their assignments expanded to include vice assignments and detectives.
Although Policewomen were not ever “field certified”, they were able to promote to the rank of Sergeant but only allowed to supervise other Policewomen, not male patrol officers. Although policewomen were hired under civil service rules and vested with powers of arrest, they were not assigned and/or deployed to patrol cars as the men. They were not viewed as equal to policemen. Policewomen assigned to detectives worked in conjunction with the [male] detectives. They were expected to handle issues of women and children within the purview of their job description. It was not until the 1960’s when the Department assigned two women to work in a detective assignment that woman were finally allowed to “try” real detective work.
The job classification of Policewomen as we knew them for 97 years has been retired as part of our history. It was not until 1973 when the Department responded to pressure from City Council that the Unisex Program was instituted and our badge changed from two (policeman and police woman) to police officer. At that time police women were offered the opportunity to go through a “field certified” academy and become police officers. Some chose to do so, others did not. Despite these changes, women were still prohibited from promoting to the rank of Lieutenant. It was a brave police woman named Fanchon Blake who sued the Department so women would have the right to promote to any rank within the organization. In 1981 her law suit was settled, she had retired, however her legacy cleared the way for LAPD women today.
COMMENDATION: 800 TASK FORCE MEMBERS assigned to the “Grim Sleeper” Case
Last month, I reminded all of you why we do this job and referenced a significant arrest. On July 7th, 57-year old Lonnie Franklin Jr., the “Grim Sleeper” was arrested in 77th Division, ending a serial killing spree that had lasted over 20-years. Today, I want to recognize the significance of the case and openly praise those involved by name.
RHD Cold Case Detectives, who were part of the 800 Task Force, worked tirelessly since 2007 to identify and capture Franklin. Working with the California Department of Justice, DNA from Franklin’s son, who is also a convicted felon, established a familial connection between the family member and DNA that had been collected at the murder scenes. That connection was used to identify Franklin and once we had a sample of his DNA, there was no question we had our killer. This investigation and use of familial DNA that led to this arrest has become a landmark case that will change the way policing is done in the United States.
I want to congratulate everyone who worked on this case, sworn and civilian, who worked so hard and with as much conviction from the first day the case was re-opened in 2007 to the days following the arrest. You worked many long hours collecting evidence at the scene of arrest, which speaks volumes of your remarkable work ethic. Each and every one of you has made me proud and is an outstanding reflection of this Department and community of which you serve. You never gave up during times when you thought all leads had been exhausted, only to look for more stones that may have been left unturned. You worked together with the community, acting on every tip and lead you received. You worked together as a team, sworn and civilian. And your relentless drive to take a murderer off the streets of the city of Los Angeles is remarkable. You have clearly demonstrated that cops count, community counts, character counts…..and YOU made a difference.
The following personnel who have been assigned to the Task Force over the past three years are commended:
Lieutenant II Thomas Thompson, Serial No. 22054, Task Force OIC
Detective III Dennis Kilcoyne, Serial No. 21818, Lead Investigator
Detective II Paul Coulter, Serial No. 21892
Detective II William Fallon, Serial No. 23135
Detective II Clifford Shepard, Serial No. 21297
The following SID personnel involved in key procedures for arrest are commended:
Criminalist II Supria Rosner, Serial No. N4508
Criminalist II Angela Zdanowski, Serial No. N2504
Criminalist II Guy Holloman, Serial No. N1959
Criminalist II Sherille Cruz, Serial No. N3467
Criminalist III Mike Mastrocovo, Serial No. G8517
Criminalist III Jennifer Francis, Serial No. N1417
Acting Supervising Criminalist, Criminalist III Kristina Takeshita, Serial No. V8485
The following detectives are commended for their hard work and diligence while assigned to the Task Force one time or another over the past 3 years:
Detective II Silvina Yniguez, Serial No. 31541
Detective II James King, Serial No. 30479
Detective II Daryl Groce, Serial No. 24864
Detective II Rodrigo Amador, Serial No. 25344
Detective III Kevin Becker, Serial No. 25941
Detective III Gina Rubalcava, Serial No. 26814