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Archive for Sunday, December 30, 2012

40 years ago: LPD hires first female for patrol duty

December 30, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Dec. 30, 1972:

The first "policewoman" to be assigned to routine field patrol in Lawrence had been hired and was to start her duties next week. Renee Ann Suitt, 25, wife of Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Michael P. Suitt, was a graduate of Baldwin High School and had also attended a local business college. She had been working for the past six years in the communications division of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation in Topeka. Police Chief Richard Stanwix said today that Suitt would receive the same training as a male employee, would rotate shifts, and would "receive no special assignment favors because of her sex." He added that the department had received some criticism in the past for not having a woman on patrol duty during demonstrations, disturbances, and raids, where females made up on average about one-third of the arrests. The police department at that time had only one commissioned female officer, Margaret Robertson, who worked a day shift and was on call for "shakedowns" when a woman was jailed. Three female secretaries were also employed by the department.

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