The Policewoman badge was used from 1930-1974. The last member to wear it was Barbara Harrison who retired in 2003 as
Executive Assistant Chief of Police.
Officer Connie Borchers Van Putten had been a member of the SDPD since 1966 when, in 1974, she was sent to the field for "training."  Her uniform was different but her duties were the same as her male counterparts. The last barrier to gender inequality would soon fall and female cops would have badges that read "Police Officer."
02/18/1972, 22-year-old Helga Johnson was hired as SDPD's first black Policewoman. In 1974 she became the first black woman to be classfied in the gender nuetral rank of police officer. 
Barbara Harrison joined Chief David Bejarano and the San Diego Police Historical Association's Board of DIrectors at
Old City Hall at 4th and G Street to replicate the
above photo exactly 100 years later.
Officer Ethel Gilmore wore a Policewoman's badge and uniform in 1953 however her duties were
more that of a Matron.
Rulette Armstead became SDPD's highest ranking Black female when she was promoted to
Assistant Chief  in 1992. Her career was profiled by News 8.
1907: The topic of women in policing was raised in 1907 however the political will, and the financial resources to make it happen, apparently was not.

1910: Matron Rose Longacre was hired as SDPD's first female employee. It would be two more years before another woman, Ida Griffin, was hired.

1912: The rank of Matron was split between "Inside and Outside Matrons."  Inside Matrons did police work commonly associated with the title. Outside Matrons had duties more commonly associated with a Detective or Policewoman. To reward  the value Ms. Longacre brought to the department, in March she was voted a 50% pay raise.

1912: Ida L. Griffin was hired as a Police Matron.  In error, history recorded her as SDPD's first female employee. Griffin was credited with the first arrest by a female officer in March of 1913. Later, another arrest incurred the wrath of the Fire Chief. 

1913: After hearing a speech from Alice Stebbin Wells, the first Policewoman of the LAPD, San Diego Superintendent of Police Henry Manney recommended San Diego also hire Policewomen. There were however, conditions.

1913: The September 15th San Diego Union profiled Officer Ebell Robinson and her efforts to control girls underage drinking in Balboa Park.

1914:  Scandle erupted after an Outside Matron entered a bar and made an arrest.  At the time it was illegal for a woman to be in a bar.  The ensuing outrage almost cost Chief Keno Wilson his job.

1915: On January 18th Ebelle Robinson was codified as as SDPD's first female Detective. Despite her hiring document reading "Policewoman" her duties were to investigate sex crimes and juvenile issues.  She worked between 14-18 hours per day, six days a week. By March of 1916, she had left the department and was in legal trouble for managing a house of ill repute. In 1927 she went to prison for grand larceny.

1915: Mrs. T.C. Pounds was appointed as a Special Police Officer without compensation.

1917: San Diego's 4 matrons were very busy as evidenced by this 1917 Jail activity report.

1917: In December Mayor L.J. Wilde declared policewomen would be useful in patrolling Balboa Park.

1919: Policewomen & Matrons proved so efficient the San Diego Union questioned why male officers were still needed.  Two weeks later, one of the officers featured, Policewoman Grace Howell, was fired.

1919: With a new Chief at the helm, the handful of SDPD's Policewomen and Outside Matrons were summarily fired.

1925: Policewomen across America get a publicized when a national magazine publishes an in depth commentary on the job duties.

1925: Matrons were assigned to Balboa Park. Their duties were better suited for that of a Policewoman.

1926:  With low pay dimishing staffing amongst the Patrolmen, women were brought back into the ranks. Because of the different Civil Service classification the women were paid less despite hiring standards set higher than their male counterparts.

1927: January 8th. Policewoman Olga Nelson was on patrol in Balboa Park when she shot an attacker.  After a court acquited her attacker Chief Jos. Doran moved toward getting rid of all of SDPD's Policewomen.

1927:  On April 3rd, Policewoman Rena J. Wright was on stakeout with her partner, Charles R. Harris ,when an unknown assailant snuck up on them and opened fire.  Harris was killed instantly. Despite a massive search, the killer was never identified. The shocking event made national news.  The two high profile events spelled
the end of the pioneering Policewomen with Mayor Clark refusing to intevene.

1932: WIth the Great Depression
biting city coffers, SDPD officially eliminated the rank of Policewomen.
The rank would reappear toward the end of the decade.

1932: Four women found themselves facing charges for endangering morale for being
married to other members of the
police department. 

1937: Matron Roberta Winter became the 1st woman in SDPD history to reach the 20 year career milestone.

1939: Chief Peterson adds to the enforcement duties for female officers.

1943: The San Diego Union profiled the important work of Policewoman Hazel Hunting in the SDPD Missing Persons Unit. While the article incorrectly listed her as SDPD's first Policewoman, it correctly depicted her as the head of the Missing Persons Unit.

1954: On March 7th Chief A.E. Jansen announced the reintroduction of Policewomen to work as Detectives in Juvenile and Sex Crimes.  They weren't uniformed and couldn't promote to supervisory ranks.

1957: San Diego Policewomen got a crisp new look when uniforms were introduced to the public by the San Diego Union.

1958: The December hiring of Patricia A. McWilliams brought the number of SDPD Policewomen to six. As noted in the San Diego Union article, she trained alongside of her male counterparts however her duties were to be very different upon graduation.

1959: SDPD Policewomen played a crucial role investigating a double murder.

1960: The San Diego Union profiled a night in the city jail from the prospective of the Police Matrons.

1966: The 49th police academy began with Connie Borchers training side by side with her male rookie counterparts.

1970: The San Diego Union profiled Policewoman Connie Borchers and her life as a Policewoman.

1971: SDPD hired 3 policewomen increasing the number of female officer's to 14.

1972: SDPD announced the hiring of 7 Policewomen.

1972: By the 1970's it was obvious there would one day be uniformed Policewomen on patrol.  Not everyone agreed with the new duties however. Despite the protest, the first was Alica (Daly) Lampert however, days later, others followed.  One of those, Connie Borchers Van Putten, would go on to become SDPD's first female sergeant.

1973: The San Diego Union  detailed growing pains of Policewomen integrating into patrol assignments.

1976: With a new Chief came new ideas.  Officer Connie Van Putten was promoted to Sergeant. 

1978: News 8 profiled Officer Debbie Sentinella and her duties as a female patrol officer.

1979: Officer Sharon Amos became SDPD's first woman to receive the departments highest award, the Medal for Valor, for her actions at one of America’s first mass school shootings.

1981: As more women became a part of the SDPD, there were still hurdles to overcome as illustrated in a September San Diego Union article. 

1983: The September issue of Police Magazine featured the service of female police officers and made Officer Leslie Lord the cover officer.

1984:  The downside of full gender equality was graphically illustrated by the September 14th on duty murder of Officer Kimberly S. Tonahill.

1984: Cheryl Morel and Christine Farmer are named to the SDPD Canine Unit making them among the 1st female canine officers in the US.

1991: Lori Luhnow became the female SDPD officer to earn a spot as a motorcycle officer. She wasn't the first woman to patrol on two wheels however. Almost a decade earlier Officer Carolyn Kendrick became a member of the "Tac-Squad," a small group of officer's assigned to patrol hard to reach areas on light, enduro type motorcycles and ATV's.

1992: Captain's Rulette Armstead and Nancy Goodrich were promoted to Assistant Chief of Police.

1994: Officer Kelly Johnson became the 1st woman to complete the SWAT academy and earn a spot on the team.

1999: Barbara Harrison was promoted to Executive Assistant Chief of Police.  Her appointment to the number two position made her the highest ranking female in the history of the SDPD (at the time).

2014:  On March 4th, Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman was appointed Chief of Police. The 32 year veteran had held almost every rank within the department - something unimaginable just a decade before her 1982 hiring.

2018: The five year limit on participation in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) led Shelley Zimmerman to leave office on March 1, 2018.

2021: An internal audit revealed that 16% of SDPD's sworn are female. Within the department the command ranks of Assistant Chief, Captain and Lieutenant are also 16% female. 

2021: On May 20th the Department announced the names of the latest SWAT academy graduates. For the first time in history, two women were on it.

2022: Lt. Andra Brown retired on April 21st. her 36 year career set a record for all time service for a sworn SDPD officer.

2023: Associate Department HR Analyst Rosa Melendrez set a full time tenure record for ALL SDPD employees when she retired with 44 1/2 years of service.

2023: In June, KPBS profiled Officer Lisa Hartman in a story entitled, "Leading with PRIDE: San Diego police officer changing hearts and saving minds, one recruit at a time."

Chief Edward "Ned" Bushyhead and most of the
all male police force of 1900.
Policewomen Doris DeVowe and Barbara Montgomery served the School Safety Patrol in 1972-73.
In 2018, Lieutenant's Misty Cedrun (L) and Andra Brown began a quarterly Women in Leadership Conference to groom SDPD's next generation of future leaders.
SDPD hired Policewoman Lucile Jeardeau in 1917 to patrol La Jolla.  Her uniform consisted of a long skirt and white top.
Her two tone, "copper clover" badge, as depicted above, was clipped to her oversized belt. Today, her badge resides in the San Diego Police Museum.
Officer Alicia Daly (Lampert) was the uniformed female police officer assigned to a marked police car for regular patrol duties. In this 1974 photo she receives her equipment from Officer Carl Campo as she prepares to go into the field.
Alice Stebbin Wells of the Los Angeles Police Department is widely credited as the America's first "Policewoman." In reality, while she was the first woman to hold such a title, women in policing dates back to the 19th century. Despite the long tradition, by 2014, women accounted for only 13% of all sworn law enforcement positions in large agencies.

Locally, women have served the San Diego Police Department since 1909. In 2023, 16% of the sworn officers were women. According to "Police One," the percentage of female officers in smaller agencies is even lower in spite of women comprising 46.5 percent of the entire labor force.
Shelley Zimmerman welcomes her sucessor, David Nisleit, to the office of Chief of Police. As Nisleit was sworn in on February 27, 2018, and Zimmerman did not retire until March 1, 2018, San Diego effectively had two Chief's.
In May 2017, a local news station profiled Officer Moriah Roberge (Maraschiello) after she completed the grueling SWAT academy. It was only the 3rd time in SDPD history a female officer completed SWAT training to earn a spot on the team.
By the late 1970s the uniform of female police officers mirrored their male counterparts. Equal pay for equal work was, at that time, a relatively unhead of concept in the American labor force.
Officer Carolyn Kendrick circa 1983.
Assistant Chief Sandra Albrektsen has served the San Diego Police Department since she was 16 years old. She retired in March 2024 as the most senior, highest ranking woman on the department.
Prior to her promotion to Assistant Chief, Tina Williams was the first female SWAT Commander in department history.
Officer Anne O'Dell appeared on the cover of "Women in Law Enforcement." As a sergeant she helped establish SDPD's centralized Domestic Violence Unit, one of the first in the nation.
Captain Lori Luhnow served the SDPD for 27 years prior to becoming the Chief of Police for the City of Santa Barbara.
Lieutenant Carol Beason
served the SDPD for 25 years before becoming the Chief of Police for the City of Shelton (WA).
Captain Anastasia Smith served the SDPD for 33 years prior to becoming the Chief of Police for the Santa Ana (CA) School Police Department.
Sergeant Richelle "Rikki" Goede served the SDPD for 10 years before rising to the rank of Assistant Chief of Police for the San Jose (CA) Police Department. The highest ranking woman in SJPD history, Goede later became Chief of Police for the Piedmont (CA) Police  Department
Matron Rose Longacre was SDPD's first female employee hired on 1/19/1910. Her duties were to tend to female suspects and juvenile issues.
Less than twenty years after a handful of pioneering women entered the uniformed patrol ranks, female officers and supervisors served with distinction at every patrol command across the City of San Diego.
Officer Janet Chelburg (Burgess) 1974.
Barbara Harrison became SDPD's highest ranking female when she was promoted to Assistant Chief in 1998. She retired as Executive Assistant Chief of Police in 2002.