Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police and
The Female Police Community
Women have been a part of the D.C. Metropolitan since the beginning of the 19th century. There has been a great deal gained in the last one hundred years, this page is dedicated to the women who have advanced in the field of Law Enforcement with the D.C. Metropolitan Police.
It really goes without saying that women have come a long way in the past 60 years. In my life time women have gone from being baby sitters to homicide investigators, while still being baby sitters. This page touches on the women within the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police. As an outsider I sure could use some help with this subject. So please feel free to drop me an e-mail with a photo and story to match. I would be happy to add it to the site.
The Big Break Through of the 60's..........
This page is dedicated to Gail Cobb - MPDC'S first female to be Killed In The Line Of Duty.
Washington D.C. Metropolitan D.C. Police
Police Chief Cathy Lanier
From what I hear these women were known as "The Modd Squad"
Chief Sonya Proctor was interim Chief from November 1997 to April 1998. Chief Proctor although an interim was the first African American Female to hold this position.
Sister Eleanor Niedwick who would often ride along with the D.C. Metropolitan Police is shown here in a scout car (left) for her part time job and her sitting in a stairway (right) in her fulltime job:)
1970 - D.C. Police Officer Gary Abrecht and his wife Mary Ellen Abrecht who is a plainclothes policewomen, posing in uniform, while on duty.
Anne (Halcombe) Clayton standing next to Deputy Chief Owen W. Davis. Officer Clayton was a member of the C.D.U. at the time of this photo
Washington, D.C., circa 1922. "House of Detention, Ohio Avenue N.W." Equipped with a nice playground
What is this House of Detention? (1922)
Submitted by Rute Boye
Readers might ask: "What is this House of Detention, who is detained there, exactly where is it, and when was it opened?" Well, let's ask Mrs. W. C. Van Winkle ...
HOUSE OF DETENTION.
STATEMENT OF MRS. W. C. VAN WINKLE, DIRECTOR OF HOUSE OF DETENTION AND DIRECTOR OF WOMEN'S BUREAU, POLICE DEPARTMENT.
Mr. DAVIS. We started this morning to go over the estimates for the House of Detention; and there are quite a few things here that even the commissioners, I am sorry to say, did not fully understand: and the suggestion was made that you come before the committee and fully inform us on certain matters. Will you give us a short description of the activities of the House of Detention, what part you play in them, etc. ?
Mrs. VAN WINKLE. You know what the building is used for, do you not?
Mr. DAVIS. I think I do; but perhaps you had better put it in the record. You know there are 435 Members of the House, and they do not know all that is to be known about these, things.
Airs. VAN WINKLE. The House of Detention is a shelter for all juvenile delinquents. A delinquent in the District is a child under 17. That means that both boys and girls are sheltered there. All female offenders over 17; all stranded women and girls; all fugitives from institutions and from parents.
Mr. DAVIS. Regardless of age?
Mrs. VAN WINKLE. No, not of male prisoners over 17; but regardless of age of fugitives from institutions if they are females: and also little children who are fugitives from home. All the wards of the Board of Children's Guardians who are awaiting a home, or pending trial in the juvenile Court, and such cases as the judge of the Juvenile court determines must wait with us, even after trial in court, until sentence and final disposition.
Mr. DAVIS. You are connected with the House of Detention in what way ?
Mrs. VAN WINKLE. We formerly had policemen detailed to the house. When we moved into the new house at Fifteenth Street and Ohio Avenue on September 1, 1920, the chief of police detailed me as director of the House of Detention. He made me directly responsible for the care of the children in that house and for the discipline and direction of the employees.
Mr. DAVIS. Do you have to do with the female policemen?
Mrs. VAN WINKLE. I am Director of the Women's Bureau of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Washington DCMetropolitan Police Women being trained in the use of a revolver - 1914
Washington DC'S 1909 Police Women
Anne Clayton,(center) standing with her co-workers while training for C.D.U.
Officer King was assigned to traffic for a short time. her husband was a Captain with the MPD as well.
A couple of female officers passing time...
Mary Ellen Abrecht joined the Metropolitan Police Department in December of
1968, and became an investigator in the Youth Division. She earned a Certificate in the Administration of Justice from American University in 1970. As Policewomen’s Coordinator in 1971 and 1972, she assisted the Department in eliminating sex discrimination in the hiring and assignment of women. From September 1972 until March 1975, she served as a Patrol Sergeant in the inner city Third District. She attended Georgetown University Law Center part-time and received her law degree in 1974.
From 1975 to 1990, Judge Abrecht was as Assistant United States Attorney for
the District of Columbia. She gained extensive experience as a trial attorney and as anappellate attorney. She held several supervisory positions including Deputy Executive Assistant to the U.S. Attorney Charles F. C. Ruff, Deputy Chief of the Grand Jury/Intake Section of the Superior Court Division, Deputy Chief of the Appellate Division, and Training Director.
On September 14, 1990, Mary Ellen Benson Abrecht was sworn in as an
Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
THE MAKING OF A WOMEN COP: 1978 by Mary Ellen Abrecht
Photos of Mrs Abrecht that were in a 1970's TIME Magazine.
Chief Lanier rose to her position from humble beginnings, she was a junior high school dropout after ninth grade, and an unwed mother at the age of 15. Chief Lanier was raised in suburban Tuxedo, Maryland, on the northeast edge of the District of Columbia in Prince George's County, Maryland and joined the Metropolitan Police of Washington, D.C. in 1990 as a foot patrolman. In 1994 she was promoted to Sergeant, and two years later, a Lieutenant, before becoming a patrol supervisor. In 1999 she became a Captain and later that year, was promoted to Inspector and placed in charge of the Department's Major Narcotics Branch/Gang Crime Unit. In August 2000, she was promoted to Commander-in-charge of the Fourth District of the city. In April 2006 she became the Commander at the Office of Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism, Office of the Chief of Police in MPDC, overseeing, among other things, the bomb squad and the emergency response team.
Cathy L. Lanier is the Chief of Police with the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC). She was appointed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty to replace outgoing Police Chief Charles Ramsey and took the position as of January 2nd, 2007. Lanier is the first woman to achieve the position. (Wikipedia)
D.C. 's newest Mayor Vincent Gray has decided to keep Chief Lanier on as Chief of Police, Lanier will be entering her sixth year as Washingtons top cop this January.
Officer McHugh, 39, formally from Massachusetts, clearly recalls the events leading up to her fateful decision to fire a round from her 9 mm Glock 19 into the shoulder of the car-jacker who was holding a hostage at gunpoint. In fact, she recites her tale as if she's talking about any other day.
Nearly seven months later, the two-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department has three medals to remind her she did the right thing.
The first award came in early April from the chief of police in Prince George's County, Maryland, where the shooting actually took place after a wild chase led McHugh and O'Gorman across the city border into that state. They received the Chief's Award for their actions.
On April 21, the Mid-Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement Association honored McHugh with its Medal of Valor. Two days later, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department gave McHugh a Medal of Valor, as well.
Metropolitan Police officials released a statement characterizing McHugh's and O'Gorman's efforts in helping to apprehend an armed carjacking suspect as "exceptionally valiant and heroic."
The call that started the pursuit last Halloween came over the radio at around 6 p.m. to be on the look-out for an armed carjacker headed toward the Fifth District, McHugh said.
“Let's say it's not in the tourist areas,” McHugh said of what is one of D.C.'s higher-crime neighborhoods.
Along with O'Gorman, she spotted the suspect moving quickly through traffic. According to reports, the suspect had carjacked a BMW station wagon.
After McHugh and O'Gorman turned on their lights and attempted to box in the stolen vehicle, the driver drove over the median strip. At that point, police chased the BMW.
The pursuit led into Prince George's County, according to McHugh. She and her fellow officer continued to follow, broadcasting their location to assisting units. After the suspect crashed the stolen vehicle into a police cruiser, the man – in his early 20s, McHugh guessed – left "with his gun pointing at everybody." It was an automatic pistol, according to the department.
He approached a passing truck with his gun out in an attempt to carjack the vehicle, McHugh said. Instead, “the guy gunned it” away from the area, according to McHugh. At this point, a teenager walked into the area carrying a number of boxes from a nearby bakery, she said. The suspect grabbed him around his neck and backed him up against a wall with the gun pointed sometimes at the young man's head, other times at surrounding police officers, and even at himself.
McHugh, O'Gorman and other law enforcement officials had, by now, formed a sort of semicircle perimeter. The suspect was ordered to drop his weapon. But he took the gun and put it into his own mouth, according to McHugh.
"I thought it was going to be an ugly ending," she said. Moments later, he shifted from holding the hostage with one arm to holding him with the other. It seemed like he was going to shoot the hostage and then himself, she said.
Presented with a clear shot, McHugh took it. The bullet struck the carjacking suspect in the shoulder. The hostage immediately took off running. But the suspect pointed his gun "like he was going to shoot him anyway," McHugh said. Two other officers opened fire.
The carjacking suspect died at the hospital and the hostage was all right, McHugh said.
The Metropolitan Police Department praised McHugh and her fellow officers for "their calm professionalism in the most stressful situation that a law enforcement officer can face."
McHugh's parents, Harold and Margaret Clarkson said he was very proud of his daughter, who, he pointed out, spent a great deal of time in the military. "She's always been a pretty good kid," he said.
"I guess I've always been in some sort of uniform," said McHugh, who served in the Army National Guard in tours during the first Iraq war in 1991 and in Afghanistan in 2004. She credited her father with convincing her to pursue a spot at the Metropolitan Police Department by whatever means necessary.
“I love it. I love my job,” she said.
As reported by the Wicked Walpole news, Massachusetts
BlackSheep Productions 2009
Who wakes up thinking this will ever happen to them...
Officers from the 1970's MPDC conduct a line up, can you guess which one is the Perp ??
I wonder if they were inspired back then to be where they are now??
Synthia Brown, the first female motorman(women) with the MPDC
Some of the MPD Females Promoted in 1989
April 21, 1989. At the time, 35 were promoted, 8 were females. It was the largest number of females promoted at one time to Sergeant.
The below pictures came from Officer Donald Yates who posted them on the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police History face book page in early 2015. Most were with S.O.D. but others were not. I will try to add the information on them as we go..