I found a wonderful website that features Calgary's history (calgaryeritage.ca) and stumbled upon an interesting story about female police officers in the city. I also found an interesting article in the Calgary Herald published December 1, 1962 titled 'Four Lassies Patrol Calgary Beat'. While I was painting this officer, a friend of my daughter's shared a story of her aunt who was also one of the original female police officers in Calgary. Unfortunately she left due to mistreatment as she was a strong feminist and activist. I'm amazed by all of these women that came before us...what they had to endure and how they began to pave the way.
Here's the story of the first women on the force:
On February 22, 1947 Officer Margaret Sadler was directing traffic at the intersection adjacent to the Louise Bridge when a driver came down the wrong side of the road and narrowly missed her. He was charged with dangerous driving, and in court a week later fined $20.
This was the first reference in the Calgary Herald to Sadler, one of the city’s first female officers.In September 1954, with women in the force still a bit of a novelty, the Calgary Herald ran a feature on two of the four women working for the Calgary Police. Sadler and Isa Buccini were shown dressed in their official uniforms, and also dressed for a party – apparently to show that the two were just “normal girls.” The pair, who both served during the Second World War, worked out of the detective’s office. The story noted that female officers have the same powers of arrest as their male counterparts.
When Sadler retired in 1961, she was replaced by Yvonne Johnson. A photo to commemorate the newest police officer appear on April 12, 1961.
But it wasn’t until 1973 that women were allowed to drive police cars. The Herald reported on May 18, 1973 that Const. Sandee Robinson was one of four women assigned to regular patrol car duty, becoming the first women to be regular patrol officers in Canada.Well, it was almost regular duty. The item stated that Robinson and partner Const. Chuck Willoughby would be sent to every type of investigation, except ones where there is continuing shooting. Robinson was one of six female officers in the city at the time.
Photos: Credit Calgary Herald/Glenbow Archives
In dress uniforms: Standing and seated Margaret Sadler (left) Isa Buccini (right)
In party dresses: Sadler (left) Buccini (right)Detective Sargeant Howard Leary welcomes new recruit Yvonne Johnson to the force (April 12, 1961)
Isa Buccini (on the telephone) and Yvonne Johnson (at the typewriter) for another Herald story on police women (December 1, 1962).