Women in Blue: 16 Brave Officers, ForensicsExperts, Police Chiefs, and More by Cheryl Mullenbach chronicles remarkable lives and contributions of women in law enforcement from Sadie Likens, Denver’s first Jail Matron in the late 1800s, to Cristina Pinto, a modern day Forensic Specialist, in this well-written and carefully researched collection of biographies.
There’s an impressive number of “firsts” – Isabella Goodwin: first female Undercover Detective, Grace Wilson: Chicago’s first African American Policewoman, Eva Blackman: first woman to become a Police Commissioner, and Penny Harrington: Portland’s first female Police Detective and first female Police Chief as the author traces the history of women in law enforcement. The accounts point out both the ridicule and discrimination women faced and the determination and successes they achieved, often under the most difficult of circumstances.
Comprehensive interviews provide readers with thoughtful accounts of the professional and personal challenges inherent in their various fields such as FBI special agent, Forensic Artist, and Forensic Specialist and the individual stories behind their success. Julia Grimes account of her life as an Alaska State Trooper Pilot begins on a whim by Julia’s father when he agrees to let her take an introductory ride in a Cessna because he’s sure she’ll become airsick and give up her interest in flying. But the 14-year-old discovers a passion that leads her to a career that includes aerial surveillance, working with a K-9 drug dog, and undercover work.
The stories are both educational and entertaining, rich with anecdotes that run the gamut from horrendous to humorous. The content, which provides an historical perspective on topics ranging from prostitution to police brutality as well as discussions of modern-day drugs, and violent crime, is handled with honesty and sensitivity. Never-the-less, parents of younger teens might be advised to peruse the book and be prepared to discuss the contents.
The book contains side bars to direct the reader’s attention to related topics. Black and white photographs, a list of resources for learning more about career opportunities in law enforcement, source notes, and a bibliography complete the book.