Trailblazing Alice Stebbins Wells: The First Woman Police Officer

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Trailblazing Alice Stebbins Wells: The First Woman Police Officer


In 1910, Alice Stebbins Wells shattered the glass ceiling and became the first woman police officer in the United States. Her pioneering spirit and determination paved the way for countless women to serve in law enforcement.

As there were no uniforms specifically designed for female police officers at the time, Wells faced the challenge of creating her own uniform. She crafted a uniform that was both functional and appropriate, consisting of a dark skirt, white blouse, and a modified version of the standard police hat.

Four years after Wells’ historic appointment, the official uniform for female police officers was introduced. This uniform, modeled after Wells’ own creation, became the standard attire for women in law enforcement across the country.

Wells’ legacy extends far beyond her groundbreaking uniform. She dedicated her career to advocating for women’s rights and improving the lives of the communities she served. She established a juvenile division within the Los Angeles Police Department and played a pivotal role in creating the first women’s prison in California.

Alice Stebbins Wells’ pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment to justice continue to inspire women and men in law enforcement today. Her story serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, determination and innovation can create lasting change.

As we celebrate the progress that has been made in promoting gender equality in law enforcement, we must also acknowledge the ongoing challenges and work towards creating a truly inclusive and equitable profession. Alice Stebbins Wells’ legacy reminds us that the path forward is paved by those who dare to break barriers and forge new paths.


Additional information:


– United States:

– Alice Stebbins Wells, first woman in America to be a police officer

– Lola Baldwin, first sworn female police officer, hired by Portland, Oregon

– Marie Owens, one of the first known appointed policewomen in Chicago, Illinois

– United Kingdom:

– Edith Smith, first British woman to be appointed a police officer with full powers of arrest

– Ghana:

– Rosamond Asiamah Nkansah, first Ghanaian policewoman

– Australia:

– Ellen O’Donnell and Zara Dare, first female police officers in the Queensland Police Department

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