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Booktalking "Women In Blue" by Cheryl Mullenbach


Aletha Gilbert became a city mother in the early 20th century with the LA Police Department. In those days, women "copettes" were charged with handling delinquents, sexual assault victims, child abuse cases and enforcing prohibition. They were not allowed to make arrests, as policemen were. Although copettes were required to obtain some college education while male high school graduates were accepted, they were paid less than men. Although women were obviously not valued as much as men, their contributions to the law enforcement field were invaluable. 

Frances Glessner Lee, the "mother of forensic science," was born in 1878 in Chicago. She created miniature dioramas of crime scenes that were used to train detectives how to solve murders. There, she was able to turn the socially acceptable doll creation hobby for young women into a valuable training ground for cops. She donated $250K to Harvard University to create a medical/legal studies department, and she gave the institution 1,000 legal medicine books for the development of a new library.

Lois Gibson was in LA as a young women in the 1970s when she made the unfortunate error of admitting an attacker into her apartment. Luckily, she recovered and was able to pursue her passion of art. She loved requesting that friends enter a store, identify a person, then verbally describe the person to her. Gibson's creations were uncanny; the drawings were amazingly accurate. She decided to marry her love of criminal justice and art by pursuing a new career, but it took much persuasion on her part to convince the Houston PD to take her on as a forensic artist.

Many other stories of amazing women law enforcement officers fill these pages.  

Women In Blue: 16 Brave Officers, Forensic Experts, Police Chiefs, and More by Cheryl Mullenbach, 2016


This is a terrific history of women in the workplace, as seen through a law enforcement lens. This book was definitely eye-opening.  I loved learning about women's history, and criminal justice is fascinating to me.


books about women in law enforcement

Cheryl Mullenbach's web site

National Center for Women & Policing




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