Booktalking "Policewoman One" by Gayleen Hays

Southwest Library

Booktalking "Policewoman One" by Gayleen Hays

Gayleen joined the police force in 1967. She wore a straight skirt and a badge that said policewoman, which was a different job than policeman. She participated in a beauty contest for the women on the force and earned the coveted title of "Miss Fuzz." She worked the prostitution beat, juvenile, and jail duty, where she predominately supervised female incarcerated persons. She lowered the police flag in the rain and a skirt, and she wore a wig so that when people pulled on it, it would simply come off. 
In 1972, the LA police force became more invested in gender equality, so it introduced a gender-neutral police officer position. The position required policewomen to return to the Police Academy for additional training. Gayleen was repeatedly encouraged to become a police officer throughout her career in order to obtain more variety of assignments, higher pay and the chance of promotion. This policewoman said no thanks, time and time again. She enjoyed her details and had no intention of supervising other cops. She loved being out in the street, in the action, nailing criminals and assisting those in need. 
Sometimes, Gayleen saw tragedies happen because she was only allowed to enforce the law. The professional saw people come to the police station for help only to get shot two weeks later. She met some scary tricks while she was working the prostitution beat. She got thrown across the room regularly at the jail, and she always seemed to have bruises somewhere while she was working there. Verbal abuse was heaped upon her with abandon. 
The policewoman thrived on the thrill and danger of undercover narcotics work. She enjoyed the surprised look on the faces of dealers when they realized who they were dealing with. She hated child abuse, but she relished relating to kids and getting them to tell her their story. She wanted to protect kids from abusers. 
In 1987, after two decades of work at LAPD, Gayleen Hays was the last policewoman to leave the force, and she liked it that way. 
Policewoman One by Gayleen Hays, 1992
This was a fascinating work which helped me understand the work of law enforcement better.

Blog by Miranda J. McDermott