Safe in 60: Salt Lake’s History of Female Police Officers
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Women are an integral part of the Salt Lake City Police Department, but that wasn’t always the case. Their role has changed significantly over the last 168 years.
The Salt Lake City Police Department was founded in 1851 but it took another 65 years to appoint a female officer to the force.
Jane Barrett joined the force in 1916. Few followed in her footsteps until the late 1950s, but they mostly served in low-hazard roles, such as youth officers and office staff. They also made a fraction of their male counterparts.
In 1973, three female officers were assigned to street positions. Their uniform included a skirt. It only took a few weeks for the women to convince administrators that wasn’t practical. Men and women were then issued the same uniform and served in similar roles. That was also about the time that men and women started earning equal salaries for the same job.
Those three women officers served with distinction. One retired as a detective, another as a captain and the third as a deputy chief, the highest-ranking female the department has seen so far.
These police women paved the future and opened opportunities for other women on the force. Since then, female officers have served on the motorcycle squad, on the K9 squad and the SWAT team.
There are currently 47 women in the Salt Lake City Police Department, making up nine percent of the force. The department recently hired five more, the most in a single police academy class in many years.
If you are interested in becoming a police officer at SLCPD you can fill out an application here: http://www.slcpd.com/careers/joinourteam/.
Lt. Heiden is a trailblazer in her own right. She joined the department in 1996, became the first female SWAT officer in 2002, and a SWAT team leader in 2012.
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