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History in Blue: 160 Years of Women Police, Sheriffs, Detectives, and State Troopers

History in Blue: 160 Years of Women Police, Sheriffs, Detectives, and State Troopers. By Allan T. Duffin. Kaplan Publishing;; 352 pages; $27.95.

llan Duffin does an impressive job of highlighting the advancement of women in law enforcement from the 1800s to the present and even offers some insight into the future.

History in Blue is an entertaining yet factual historical account of women in law enforcement throughout the years. The book weaves historical data with personal stories and experiences taken from the many law enforcement officers—both male and female—who helped the author bring history to life as women were hired (sometimes reluctantly) by police agencies throughout the country. Duffin states that, at times, many law enforcement agencies had more stringent hiring requirements for wo­men, hiring females only when they were unable to find an excuse to not hire them. Women were routinely assigned to handle female offenders, victims of sexual assault, and delinquent children or, in other words, what the men considered “women’s work.” The men handled the “real” police work, like homicide, robbery, and burglary. As a former trooper and detective with a state police agency, I can attest that the author gives an accurate depiction of the challenges women in law enforcement experienced in the 1970s and 80s.

Even though, according to the book, the glass ceiling for women in law enforcement has not been completely broken, it is cracked enough to let plenty of opportunities shine through. There has been, and continues to be, a forward progression towards the acceptance of females in traditionally male-dominated careers. Today, seeing women in various local, state, and federal law enforcement positions throughout the country has become the norm, rather than the exception.
The book is interesting reading for virtually any compliance or enforcement discipline—whether it be law enforcement, the military, or security professionals.

Reviewer:  Marianna Perry, CPP, is an area training and development manager for Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., and a member of the ASIS Crime and Loss Prevention Council.