TRAINING ACADEMY NOW HAS COEDS
three women to undergo police training sessions along with male recruits
were given a tour of Central Headquarters as part of their orientation.
Warrant Officer Ronald England of the Police Public Information Office
conducted the tour. From left: Mrs. Clay B. West, Mrs. Janet Gault, and
Patricia Lynn Huggins and Officer England.
be a new look in the gymnasium classes at Memphis Police training
classes this week. There'll also be a new look in the classrooms and at
the firing range.
the first time, women are being trained along with men for police jobs.
Lynn Huggins, 32, Mrs. Janet Gault, 22 and Mrs. Clay West, 28 began
policewomen were trained in separate classes.
is as nice as they can possibly be, " said Mrs. Gault. "I'm
just as proud as I can be that I'm able to do this."
of the women said they plan to make a career of police work.
always admired law enforcement agencies and the work they do," said
Mrs. West. "So I decided I would like to become a part of it."
Huggins said she became interested in police work through her boss, Fred
is executive director of the Memphis and Shelby County Association for
Retarded Children," she said. "but he was in the police
reserve system. I would talk to some of the police officers and
recruiters who would call him. They talked me into it."
who are now working for the department are scheduled for an in-service
training program to put them on the same level as the new women who are
going through the complete training program.
girls said the physical training program, which will include techniques
of escape from physical attack, the mechanics of arrest and self
defense, will be one of the hardest parts of the program.
never fired a gun before either," added Mrs. Gault. "I just
hope I don't shoot somebody."
they will probably begin as Meter Maids, Mrs. Gault and Mrs. West said
they have no preference in which department they would like to work when
they've completed training.
Huggins, however, said she would like to work in the Intelligence
Division, if possible.
course," she said, "I realize I'll have to start at the
bottom. I'm willing to shovel snow if that's what they want me to start
three were anxious to get started with their new careers.
were supposed to be at the Training Center at 7 a.m.," said Miss
Huggins. "I got there at 6:30 just so I would not be
Press Scimitar - January 12, 1970.
TO RIDE IN POLICE CRUISERS
will begin riding in patrol cars next month as part of another
experimental program by the department, officials said Tuesday.
Chief W. O. Crumby said that upon graduation on May 1, three women
enrolled in the department's training academy will be assigned to police
cruisers with male officers. He said the program will become permanent
if it is effective.
of the women will be assigned to one the single manned cars now
operating, Chief Crumby said. Twelve cruisers manned by one officer
began patrolling the city on an experimental basis April 9 in an effort
to put more police cars on the streets and to shorten the time it takes
to answer calls.
Crumby declined to identify the women enrolled in the academy but said
they will be answering calls "of a non-violent nature."
Freeda Bowers Monday became the first woman officer assigned to a police
cruiser, but her assignment is temporary. She is a volunteer officer
assigned to ticket pedestrians in a federally funded pedestrian safety
and date unknown.
FEMALES PROMOTED TO LIEUTENANT
Marilyn Duncan – Commercial Appeal
proud of my promotion and the opportunity that’s been given me,”
said Lt. Mary Fowler, one of two women officers recently promoted to the
rank of lieutenant with the Memphis Police Department.
wouldn’t have wanted that promotion if I felt I had received it only
because I am a woman and not because I am a qualified officer.
don’t think any woman wants to take a man’s job.
They want to show that they are qualified.
The men who resent the female officers might as well accept the
fact that we’re here to stay.”
Louise Dunavant, the other officer promoted, said, “We want to work
alongside men, equally. It’s
a very interesting career for women. Women are needed in three areas.”
areas are homicide and vice. Lt.
Fowler is assigned to the homicide bureau and Lt. Dunavant, who was on
the vice squad, was recently transferred to the juvenile bureau.
officers, with more than 10 years on the force, started in intersection
control, “checking meters among other things.”
were later “borrowed” by the vice bureau as volunteers to work on
special cases where female officers were needed.
they had something special for us to do we always volunteered,” said
Lt. Fowler. “Both of us
wanted to make police work our careers.”
several months of special details both were promoted to detectives and
assigned to the vice bureau.
if the men in the department resent the women as officers, Lieutenant
Fowler said hesitantly, “Yes, they resent us.
I’d say the better educated and more open minded officers have
accepted women and tried to help us.
And the new men coming on the force seem to accept us without
there is a group in the middle that will never accept us.
There will always be that segment that resents us jut because
their promotions were announced, it was said that as lieutenants, the
women would have men under their command.
don’t know what my duties as a lieutenant will be,” said Lieutenant
Dunavant. “Whatever the
director and chief assign to me, I will do my best.”
the vice bureau Lieutenant Dunavant has worked on “all kinds of
handle child molesting, incest, exhibitionists, bigamists, abortion and
gambling. I’ve also been
used as a decoy in obscene phone call complaints, and I’ve assisted in
returning female prisoners from other states.
of the time with women prisoners they like to have a female officer
along to protect the man’s reputation.
A woman prisoner could easily accuse an officer of something that
he didn’t do.”
Dunavant has two children, a son who lives in Houston, Texas and a
teenage daughter at home.
my children are proud of me,” she said.
“I guess that’s why I’m so proud.
My daughter worries about me and I think, because
of my job, I’m more cautious about her safety than an ordinary
parent would be. It becomes
more real when you constantly see victims of crimes against women and
has been with the vice bureau for eight and a half years and feels that
more women are needed in this type of police work.
no doubt that women make terrific investigators, especially in cases
where women and children are victims.
Maybe a woman is a natural-born snoop, but often we’re able to
get closer to a female victim.
women also need to have the opportunity to work in areas where they can
do just as well as men. They shouldn’t come into this profession, or any
profession, with out knowing of the elements of risk and the danger to
I feel safer than the average woman walking down the street.
I am prepared to protect myself.
I have been trained for it, just like the male officers.”
Dunavant enjoys working a case “from beginning to end. I take great
pride in preparing my cases and seeing the ultimate when it’s
presented in court. It’s
really exciting seeing it unfold. It
makes you feel that you have accomplished something.
Fowler has been with the homicide bureau a little more than three years.
“I like this department better,” she said
was in vice and narcotics for three years (before the two bureaus were
separated) and in domestic intelligence for 18 months.
started off like all the new men do,” she said, “We handle murders,
assaults, suicides and natural deaths that occur at home – actually
any death that occurs when a doctor is not in attendance.”
don’t enjoy doing it. The only way you can keep the deaths from bothering you is
not to become emotionally involved.
I have a high respect for life.”
Fowler hasn’t found any difficulty in dealing with victims or arrested
persons because she is a woman. “I
just tell them I’m a police officer, and there’s nothing they can
say that I haven’t heard before.”
seldom, she said, does a female officer go to the scene of a rape case.
That visit usually is made by a uniformed officer. “In most
cases they’d rather talk
to a woman than a man,” said
Lieutenant Fowler, “but you also have to consider that some of the
cases we get are not legitimate rapes.”
you arrest a man on a charge as serious as that you have to be sure the
girl is telling the truth. I
ask the girls the same questions that will be asked in court.
If they can’t accept the questions here, it reflects on how
they’ll hold up in court.”
for her future duties, Lieutenant Fowler is “in limbo right now.
We haven’t received our permanent orders.
We’ll just have to wait and see.”
feels there is a definite need for women in law enforcement. “It’s
long overdue. The police
department is making an effort to recruit more women.”
Fowler has three children, one son who attends North Texas State
University in Denton and another son and a daughter at Memphis State
University. Her son at MSU
already is taking some law enforcement courses and her son in Texas
works for the Dallas security police at Love Field.
children are delighted with my work,” she said. “They’re real
proud of me.”
women agree that police work is not easy work for a woman.
“We feel that we have to prove ourselves,” said Lieutenant
Dunavant. “That’s the reason most women do work hard at their jobs,
any job. But we get a kind
of satisfaction out of this work that’s unequal to anything else.”
Press Scimitar - 1973.
ALLOWING WOMEN IN PATROL CARS PASSES SEVENTH SUCCESSFUL YEAR
April 16, 1973 a woman police officer stepped out of a patrol car and
stopped two jaywalkers. The
woman wrote out two citations and then drove off with her partner
looking for more traffic violators.
shift ended routinely. But the day was historic.
day marked a monumental change in policy in the Police Department’s
use of women employees. No
longer would women officers be banned from riding in the squad cars.
They would now share duties equally with male officers whether in
writing a traffic citation or confronting a deranged mental patient
waving a sawed-off shotgun.
matrons, meter maids and other female police employees praised the new
equal opportunity policy with hallelujahs.
officers sang a different tune. They
complained that women officers would get themselves shot and also
endanger their partners’ lives. The
men argued that women were not physically equipped to manhandle their
way out of rough street situations.
officers also had to contend with wives who were firmly against having
their husband’s ride with women, fearing that budding of amorous
relations the squad cars.
years have now passed since the symbolic day.
No woman officer has been killed or seriously wounded nor has a
patrolman been killed because of any mistake made by a female officer.
And complaints from wives are rare.
continue to ride with men and others are riding together or alone in
some of the roughest Memphis neighborhoods.
the number of women officers continues to grow under the 1973 federal
guidelines which require 20 percent of police academy graduates to be
female. There are not 59
women officers and 39 of them are working in squad cars.
Four women have attained the rank of lieutenant and police
officials say there probably will be women captains within the next few
Herbert, police deputy director of administration, does not think women
will ever compose more than 15 percent of the force, but he said: “I
think within the foreseeable future women can attain any rank within the
six-year woman veteran agrees that women’s ranks will continue to
increase, but she remains skeptical of the Police Department’s
intentions. “Personally, I think it will change just because the
Justice Department will make them.
They don’t think they should change.”
that women officers are well entrenched in the Police Department, do men
accept their female colleagues?
precinct commander laughed when he was asked the question, “I
wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole.”
will say that feelings about women police are divided, but many officers
probably would agree with Marshall, who remarks “Every police
department in the United States would like to have an all male police
says men’s attitudes against women have lessened over the years, but
it still causes him to worry. For instance, he said some police overreact in dangerous
situations because they feel women officers will not back them up, while
other male officers overprotect their female colleagues.
it is hard to determine how widespread the dissatisfaction is with women
officers. Men usually keep
their comments confined to all male gatherings and it is certainly not a
topic the men discuss with the women officers.
the older men are the ones most resistant to women officers.
During idle moments in their offices, some veterans of the force
take delight in criticizing women police.
Women, they say, are not strong enough to back up their
colleagues in critical situations and they try to avoid danger.
captain summarized the feelings his colleagues.
“Sometimes it gets down to the nitty-gritty and I don’t want
some cute 120-pound blonde working with me”
male officers, however, have gone through the academy with women and
they are used to their presence. Some
police officials who were interviewed believe many young officers have
accepted women as equals on the job.
when one young officer was asked his opinion, he replied: “My mustache
is black now, but it turned half grey when I was riding with a woman 4
to 12 in North Memphis. They
can’t cut the mustard. They
are scared. They overreact.”
the women interviewed said negative feelings of men were pretty well
kept submerged at the precincts and the women have not been intimidated
by them. But some said they
are aware of other women police who are bothered by men’s attitudes.
“I know some women on the force who feel they have to prove
themselves because of what the men say.
I feel these women might get hurt because of it,” said one
will test you,” said Elizabeth Landrum of the West Precinct. “They
are going to try to see what they can get away with.
If you let them bother you, they will keep doing it.”
the women agreed that the physical requirements of the job are
overemphasized by the critics of women police.
They say violent situations are rare and when they do happen men
are usually just as vulnerable to harm as a women.
really feel that if a female uses her head, 99 percent of the time she
won’t have to face physical confrontation,” said Georgia Gantt of
the West Precinct.
potentially explosive situations, women must be more patient than male
officers and not act brashly because they cannot afford the risk, women
can go into an agitated situation and cause a riot.
The men officers are big enough and strong enough to back up what
they say, the women are not,” said one woman rookie.
least one recent incident rocked the suggestion that women officers are
meek and mild.
Gantt and Pat Lovett, also of the West Precinct were filling out a
routine report at the Veterans Administration Medical Center last month.
A man in the hall went berserk, grabbed a female security guard
and pushed the muzzle of his cocked sawed-off shotgun in her hair.
the man yelled out death threats, the guard and Ms. Gantt – standing a
few feet away – urged him to give up.
All the while, Ms. Lovett, hidden kept her gun trained on the man
and prepared for the worst.
worst never happened. Within a few minutes the man surrendered and was quickly
handcuffed before any other police arrived.
put two exceptional women together, they got into an exceptional
situation and they handled it exceptionally well,” said one police
women like Ms. Gantt and Ms. Lovett – who are regarded by their
commanders as excellent officers- are the severest critics of female
shortcomings on the force. Both
of them are critical of many women officers because they feel they are
not physically or mentally tough enough for the challenge.
Patty Lovett, pictured here as a lieutenant in the 90's, is currently a
Major and still as excited about police work today as she was as a
of the men have been put in hazardous situations with women in the
car,” Ms. Lovett said. She said she also worries about the women who need two
fingers to pull the trigger of a service revolver.
Gantt agreed. “One of
these days these women are going to get hurt and not come back.”
Lynn O’Shaughnessy Memphis Press-Scimitar staff writer – 5/16/80
SEX" POLICE CADETS PUT CLOUD
ON TRAINING PROGRAM
physically strong must a person be before he or she is allowed to wear
the blue uniform of a police Officer?
That question has
bothered officials at the Memphis Police Department Training
since they began preparing women for duty in patrol cars in 1973.
Academy officials concede that until they know the answer, the
physical training tests will remain arbitrary and could allow recruits
with “critical weaknesses” to graduate.
who have been dissatisfied with the training program are numerous:
academy instructors, the U.S. Justice Department, some police officers
and Police Director E. Winslow Chapman.
training practices also have been challenged in court by two women
recruits who called the test procedures discriminatory.
The two eventually settled out of court, re-entered the academy
and graduated with the 1979 class.
Fred Klyman, director of the police academy, said the only way to stop
the grumbling is to conduct a study which will determine precisely what
physical abilities are needed to function successfully as a police
officer. Klyman admits,
however, that the chances for such a costly study any time soon are
remote. The Law Enforcement
Assistance Administration (LEAA), which could provide a large chunk of
the funds, may be dismantled by a budget conscious Congress.
the problem has been the existence of the Justice Department’s quota
guidelines or women officers. The
Memphis Police Department signed a consent decree in 1973 which
committed it to filling 20 percent of each graduating class with women.
If the quota is not met one year, the shortfall must be
compensated for in the next.
the quota was established, academy officials were faced with two
unpleasant choices. They
could maintain the academy’s strict physical and firearms standards
geared toward men and not meet the quota, thus possibly touching off
legal action by women and the federal government. Or they could change
the standards and cut corners to allow more women to graduate.
at the academy opted to lower the standards.
Consequently, some at the academy believe some women and men are
graduating without having the physical qualifications needed by police
net result is that a certain number of women are given more slack than
the city would like.” Said
one officer who formerly served at the academy.
“There are a few women who couldn’t even meet women’s
scores. We’d have to make
a decision and the city would usually come in and keep them.”
academy instructor, who wanted to remain anonymous, agreed, “Some
women are in better shape than men,” but “the majority of women are
not in good physical shape. They
comply with Justice Department wishes entrance and graduation tests were
changed and remedial sessions were held to bring many of the women and
some men up to passing levels.
said lowered standards have caused a “double-edged” problem for the
department. It has allowed
some women to graduate who normally would have flunked, as well as males
who never would have been hired during the days of the all male force.
a result, Chapman said the department has begun to tighten the
standards. The police
director however, said he is certain changing the requirements will
bring protests from the Justice Department.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy – Memphis Press-Scimitar staff writer, 1980.
TRAINING HAS CHANGED TO ACCOMMODATE WOMEN
appease the Justice Department, the entire 1979 recruiting class was
stopped for three weeks while instructors worked to get unconditioned
recruits into shape. A few men and women only needed help the first week
to build up their strength, but it took three weeks to get all of the
women up to grade, said Lt. J.A. Bullard who is in charge of physical
Bullard said the delay in the training caused “a feeling of
alienation” within the class and created an extra expense for
the extra help, all the women in the 1979 class passed the physical
tests required for graduation. But Bullard added, “If someone hadn’t passed I don’t
know what we would have done. We
probably would not have had the guts to fire them because of the
at the shooting range, the problems continue for women. Their smaller
hands and weaker grip have created the need for more help from
instructors. Most women can
overcome the disadvantage however, with practice and by repeating such
exercises as squeezing a tennis ball to build up strength, said Lt. W.L.
Dickey, who is in charge of firearms training.
with the extra practice, however, some women are graduating from the
academy who are unable to fire a gun without using one finger from each
hand to pull the trigger.
said that he was passing women who could successfully complete the tests
with a two finger pull in the hopes that they would get their hands in
shape during their first year on the force.
Most of the women have overcome the problem by the time they come
back a year later for in-service training, he said.
academy also requires that each recruit shoot passing scores with his or
her weak hand, but Dickey said it is “very common” for new women
recruits to be unable to do this. Again women are allowed to use two hands to accomplish this
when necessary, but out on the street this could put them into dangerous
situations, Dickey said.
example if a right handed officer needs to shoot around a left corner of
a building, he should pull the trigger with his left hand, thereby only
exposing his left eye and part of his hand.
If the officer in the same situation can only shoot with his
right hand, most of his body will be exposed.
police recall cases where the tensions are lessened on the service
revolvers so women will be able to pull the trigger, which usually
requires 12 to 15 pounds of pressure.
woman officer, who has been called an excellent marksman by her
colleagues, said she saw this done while she was on the range.
Apparently, someone at the range loosened the tension on the gun
of a woman having problems with the weapon and it caused the hammer to
hit the shell less forcefully. The
officer pulled the trigger six times, but three times the gun did not
cadets today must jump fences, scale walls, pick up manhole covers and
run through a sewer. The exercises are part of the obstacle course which must be
passed for admission into the academy and for graduation.
said he is ready to scuttle the obstacle course and Bullard said he
would be glad to get rid of it.
obstacle course was started last year after Justice Department officials
expressed concern that tests at the academy were arbitrary and unfair to
women. The Justice
Department officials felt the obstacle course would realistically
measure recruits’ skills in job-related tasks.
the obstacle course was adopted last year, an agility test – the
darling of academy instructors – was used to weed out about 60 percent
of the academy applicants. The
rugged test required recruits to complete such things as 100 pushups,
100 leg raises, 15 chin-ups, 100 deep knee bends and a two-mile run in
old agility test we gave was almost a scientific tool- it eliminated
arbitrariness. We were
extremely proud of it,” Bullard said.
the years, the scores on the agility test proved to be an excellent
predictor of a male recruit’s chances for graduating from the academy,
Bullard said. Any applicant who could score a 70 on the test was almost
assured that he would graduate while anyone scoring 69 or less would
have almost no chance of passing later.
The cutoff grade was 70.
took until 1978 for a woman to pass the agility test the first time
around. Georgia Gantt, now
assigned to the West Precinct, and two other women took the honors that
to Klyman, the Justice Department wanted to know why the agility test
was so superior. Would a
man who could easily do 100 pushups necessarily be a better officer than
a women who could only finish 50?
said they could not sufficiently defend charges of arbitrary testing, so
the academy devised the obstacle course.
the obstacle course posed a problem for the instructors: the civil
service had set no time limit for running through the obstacle course.
Consequently, would a applicant who ran through the course in 10
minutes be accepted along with the persons who finished under two
three-minute time limit was set at the academy.
Officials conceded the limit could have been called arbitrary
because the civil service never established a time.
the brief experience with the obstacle course, Bullard complains that
the test can hide “critical weaknesses” in recruits.
Klyman says he wonders if the obstacle course is even good
training. For instance,
Klyman questions the courses requirements that recruits run through a
dark sewer. “I’m not sure that’s even good police practice to go
running after someone in a sewer,” he said.
said the old agility test with its rugged physical requirements is a
better predictor of a recruit’s chances for success as an officer and
so he will recommend its use for the next recruit class.
But Klyman is not sure the Justice Department will agree.
Stroud, 24, is glad she is finally a police officer.
Ms. Stroud and Brenda Harris were fired in 1976 after they
flunked the firearms and physical tests at the academy.
They both claimed they were discriminated against and were not
given enough extra help to pass the tests.
Civil Service Commission voted unanimously to reinstate the two cadets
as police dispatchers and ordered that the women be allowed to try out
for the next training class. Nonetheless, both women filed suits against the police
department and in 1979 the matter was settled out of court. The women were graduated from the academy in 1979 and were
given $2,600 in back pay.
I’ve been through is worth it. I
wish I had been here a long time ago,” Ms. Stroud said.
the interview, Ms Stroud was charged with possessing marijuana with
intent to sell after officers, responding to a tip, searched her car.
She was later cleared and her estranged husband was charged with
subornation to perjury in the case.
Ms. Stroud had maintained that her husband had set her up.)
Stroud said she did not feel discriminated against any longer and that
she enjoyed her patrol job in the West Precinct.
“After the lawsuit was settled, I never had any problems.
Nobody ever said anything about it.
I thought they might.”
though Ms. Stroud weights only 100 pounds, and stands 5 feet 4, she said
her size has not prevented her from completing her job satisfactorily.
She and other women police said good women officers compensate
for their lesser physical strength by thinking quickly and talking their
way out of tough situations.
Stroud admits that a prejudice against women officers will remain.
“You can’t argue with them. They’ve got their minds made up so there is not use
discussing it. There are
people from the top command down to patrolmen who think women have no
place as police,” she said.
Stroud and Brenda Harris are not the only ones who have made police
officers cautious about avoiding lawsuits against the academy.
women and one man were cut from the 1978 class two days before
graduation for failing firearms or physical tests or both.
The group talked with Police Director E. Winslow Chapman the day
after the announcement and on graduation day five of the recruits were
allowed to graduate with the stipulation that they complete the physical
tests during probation.
is one important fact about women police officers which is not contained
in the academy record books. No
woman officer has ever been killed or seriously injured since they began
patrolling the streets in 1973. No
one – not even critics of women officers – can recall where a male
officer was seriously hurt because of the failing of a woman officer.
one academy official explained the women’s record this way. “If they
(women) are being put in real assignments, then policing may not be a
physical job as we define it, but I think it is.
I suspect we are not utilizing women in full capacity.”
whether women officers are pulling their weight, Chapman declined to
comment. However, he did
say problems have been caused by male officers who have little
confidence in their women colleagues.
officers with women partners, Chapman said, “react differently and
sometimes overreact. They
feel they won’t be backed up physically.”
said he knows of at least one case where deadly force was used
unnecessarily because the officer felt his female partner could not help
however, believe that if women were physically unprepared for the job,
one of them would have been hurt on the streets long ago.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy Memphis Press-Scimitar staff writer – 1980.
FEMALE OFFICER PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN
‘Claire’ Lester, among the first 10 women to join the Memphis Police
Department and now in charge of officers assigned to City Court has been
promoted to captain.
was promoted Thursday on her 30th anniversary on the force.
has really been an interesting career,” she said.
“I have learned a lot…especially from the seasoned
from her has been her daughter, Julie Barrow, who has been a police
officer for 15 years and is assigned to Central High School and Bellevue
Junior High School.
captain, 56, began as a traffic officer in 1958.
Of the first 10 women hired as police officers, she’s the only
one still on the job.
also has worked as a detective on the vice, sex crimes and larceny
squads, and as a lieutenant in charge of a uniformed patrol shift and
also of a precinct detective bureau.
will continue her assignment of the past 31/2 years in the City Court.
Capt. Joanne Moore is the only other female captain.
a woman in the police department hasn’t always been easy she said.
were a lot of hurdles to cross,” she said.
“But I’ve learned a lot from the men on the Police
she said, here fellow officers have less trouble accepting women as
it has been hard for women,” she said, “but most of that has
changed. Women have good
opportunities in the department now.”
Barbara A. Burch – Commercial Appeal staff reporter