Oklahoma's First Female Police Officers Honored
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The first women in Oklahoma history to become law enforcement officers have been honored for their pioneering efforts.
A special induction ceremony was held Sunday at the second annual Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame. The six women were commissioned in August 1955 and worked in the traffic division. The police chief called them "meter maids." Jean Latham, one of the inductees, said they received less pay than their male counterparts, and worked all holidays.
"Most of the years that I worked, we didn't get Christmas off or the holidays because we were told all the men had families, although we had families, too," Latham said.
The women not only gave out tickets, they patrolled alley ways and made arrests. Latham used the experience to become the first female detective in the state in 1974. She said her promotion did not come easily.
"It took me 17 years to be promoted, whereas the males would be promoted to something only after two years," Latham said.
Latham said she and the other female officers opened the doors for other women in all levels of law enforcement.
Eight other inductees were also honored at the ceremony. They included Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves who tracked down outlaws in Indian Territory; Captain Sam Sixkiller who was a member of the U.S. Indian Police of the Five Civilized Tribes; and Chaplain Jack Poe who served more than 23 years with the Oklahoma City Police Department.