By Mary O’KEEFE
The first female Glendale police officer was Pauline Copeland. According to GPD historian Officer Teal Metts, “policewomen,” as they were called, were a hybrid between the community service officer and a police officer. Their duties were limited and they were not in the field often.
Copeland began with the department in the 1940s. The gun she used while a policewoman was recently donated to the department as part of the museum GPD is developing. The gun has been dated as “pre war,” according to Metts.
At some point, policewomen began to wear uniforms and carry guns – in their purses. Copeland was hired in September 1943 and retired as a detective in March 1974. It wasn’t until 1978 the title “policewoman” and the terms “policeman or patrol man” were changed to police officer.
GPD now has 25 female officers, who patrol alongside their male counterparts – and they no longer carry their guns in purses.