Alice Stebbins Wells: The First American Female Police Officer

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There are many women in Police forces today. It never use to be that way, policing was considered a man’s job. That changed in the early 1900’s when the first American born citizen was hired as a police woman. Alice Stebbins Wells was born in Manhattan Kansas on June 13, 1873. Mrs. Well’s was the first American born female to be hired as a police woman with arrest powers. Before being hired by the LAPD as the first women officer Alice was a social worker. It was in 1909 when she petitioned Mayor George Alexander and city council, requesting that an ordinance providing for Los Angeles police women be adopted. It was passed an on September 12, 1910 Alice Stebbins Well’s was appointed as the nation a first female to be designated a police women with arrest powers. Since 1890 many California cities employed women as “matrons” or “workers.” These women specialized in the care of female prisoners. They also worked in city and county prisons as well as other penal institutions. Her first day as police women Mrs. Well’s was given a Gamewell key which is also known as a telephone call box. She was also given a first aid book and a “policeman’s badge.” When Mrs. Well’s displayed her badge to be able to ride the trolley cars for free like the rest of her fellow officers, the conductor accused her of misusing her husband’s identity. This was later fixed by giving her the very first “policewomen’s badge number one.” Mrs. Well’s first partner was Officer Leo W Marden. Mr. Marden was the department’s first juvenile officer. Shortly after her being hired the following order was issued. “No young girl can be questioned by a male officer; such work is delegated solely to policewomen, who, by their womanly sympathy and intuition, are able to gain the confidence of their young sisters.” Some of Mrs. Wells’s first duties were to supervise and enforce the laws at places such as dance halls, penny arcades, skating rinks and many other similar places. She also had to interact with...
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