Women continue to progress at all levels

Law Enforcement

Women have been a significant part of law enforcement since Rose Fortune, a freed slave declared herself the first female police officer in 1774. The road through history has not been smooth for a host of reasons, including societal condemnation and legal barriers to entry.

As in most professions the early pioneers endured challenges different than those encountered today and sacrificed a great deal including the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Women continue to progress at all levels throughout federal, state, local, tribal and international policing.

Leadership roles include head of agency; Chiefs of Police, Sheriffs and Directors of Public Safety. Women serve in tactical response and EOD units as well as on technical and scientific teams.

Featured Women: Federal

Laura A. Bucheit

Teresa Chambers

Stephanie Douglas

Patricia M. Ferrick

Deirdre Fike

Marcy M. Forman

Polly Hanson

Stacia A. Hylton

Michelle S. Klimt

Michele Leonhart

Christy McCampbell

Nancy McNamara

Monica M. Miller

Sheree Mixell

Margaret M. Moore

Cheri Nolan

Valarie Parlave

Julia Pierson

Mary Frances Rook

Delena D. Spann

Melanie Stinnett

Theresa Stoop

Mary Thompson

Julie Torres

Heather Fong

Monica Rocchio

Tamra L. Goldsmith

Cheryl L. Tyler

Dorene F. Erhard

Elizabeth M. Casey

Helen H. Yu

Janice Ayala

Margaret H. Coggins

Val B. Demings

Ruth M. Mendonca

Featured Women: State

Susan Kyzer

Kathleen McKinney

Kathleen Stevens

Featured Women: Local

Stephanie Harding

Roberta A. Abner

Jane Castor

Carol Aborn-Koury

Paula Balafas

Eileen Whalon Behr

Susan Benton

Gwendolyn Savage

Ellen Brin

Maurita J. Bryant

Ella M. Cummings

Andrea J. Cabral

Sheilah Coley

Cassandra Brown

Barbara Duncan

Margaret Fischer

Margo Frasier

Patty Patterson

Chief Ellen Hanson

Janee Harteau

Sandra Hutchens

Kim Jacobs

Cathy L. Lanier

Rhonda L. Lawson

Dawn Layman

Donna Lusczynski

Rosanne Manghisi

Felicia H. McAdoo

Terri McDonald

Joan T. McNamara

Jeanne Miller

Margaret Mims

Michelle Nuneville

Barbara O'Connor

Jobeth Patterson

Vicky M. Stormo

Monica E. Ray

Tammie Reeder

Cynthia Renaud

Jayne Thomas Rich

Susan Rockett

Trish Sanchez

Janie Schutz

Jacqueline Seabrooks

Laurie Smith

Karen Soley

Sandra Spagnoli

Eva Talley-Sanders

Lianne Tuomey

RoseMary Wahl

Carolyn Welsh

Cynthia A. Williams

Jeri Williams

Joan P. Yale

Kirstin Ziman


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is a law enforcement agency in the Department of Justice that protects communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. AFT partners with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public through information sharing, training, research, and use of technology. For more information on ATF see here.

The Secret Service is charged with safeguarding the nation's financial infrastructure and payment systems to preserve the integrity of the economy and to protect national leaders, visiting heads of state and government, designated sites, and National Special Events. For more information please see here.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) swore in their first female Special Agents in 1972. This tribute celebrates the careers of numerous Special Agents and includes interviews with women on their time in the FBI.

The National Center for Women and Policing is an organization dedicated to the promotion of women in all ranks of law enforcement and improving police responses to violence against women. For more information on the NCWP, please see here.

Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) is an organization whose mission is to promote gender equity through leadership education that provides training, research, scholarships, awards, and networking opportunities in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, WIFLE members and WIFLE sponsors. For more information on WIFLE see here.

The National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) was established to address the needs of women holding senior management positions in law enforcement. NAWLEE is dedicated to serving and furthering the interest of women executives and those who aspire to be executives in law enforcement. For more information see here.

The International Association of Women Police  (IAWP) seeks to strengthen, unite, and raise the profile of women in criminal justice internationally. IAWP has members in over 60 countries and is continuing to grow, while promoting female criminal justice professionals throughout the world. For more information see here.

This 2015 report Ambushes of Police analyzes incidents of extreme violence against law enforcement officers with special focus on ambushes. It investigates methods of preventing, responding to, and surviving ambushes. 

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