"Boston's Fairest" Lecture and Exhibit about the BPD's First Female Police Officers, Hired to Work Without Uniform, Arms or Car, Starts Tuesday, October 16, at 6:30 P.M.

Yes, you read that right. When the first Boston Police Department’s female officers were hired in 1921, they were given a badge. They were denied a uniform, a weapon, and the proverbial ‘vehicle.’ When one of them disarmed a ‘perpetrator,’ she had to hail a cab to take the man to the station. They were a talented group of women: Josephine Lally was a law school graduate and a nationally ranked athlete before she joined the BPD. Yet, Irene Bombach, who ranked 2 out of 700 on the Sargeant’s Examination, was never promoted because her husband also worked at the BPD. The police commissioner at the time said he feared “discord in the home.” To solve that problem, he promoted the husband, even though he had scored lower.  And so it went and, some allege, so it still goes. To bemoan these and other outrages, join BPD’s archivist Margaret Sullivan and her colleague,  Sgt. Detective Dr. Kim L. Gaddy for their lecture and slide show on Tuesday, October 16, at 6:30 p.m. The exhibit has been making the rounds at the BPL and other branches but is now here at the South End branch, most appropriate, since  one of the women detectives featured was a former South End resident, Dorothy “Harry” Harrison, daughter of an African-American physician, Columbus Harrison,  who had his medical practice on Chandler Street.