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After helping more than 1,600 young women find suitable jobs and lodging during the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition, Lola Greene Baldwin persuaded Portland city officials to fund her work with women under the police department’s jurisdiction. She took the detective’s exam and in 1908 was sworn in as superintendent of the new Women’s Protective Division, becoming the nation’s first municipal policewoman.
Baldwin emphasized preventing crime by policing and regulating venues like amusement parks, dance halls and saloons, where women could be at risk from predatory men. She helped other cities develop similar programs and influenced police policy in ways beneficial to this day.
Watch the Oregon Experience documentary “Lola G. Baldwin” to learn how the nation’s first policewoman pioneered new strategies in law enforcement.
Lola G. Baldwin
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