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Women’s History Month Cambridge Police Department

In honor of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8th, and Women’s History Month, the Cambridge Police Department is recognizing the important contributions made by many women in the department.

The department’s first female police officer, Edith J. Taylor, was hired as an investigator in July 1919 and become a full-time police officer in March 1921. She spent 33 years as a Cambridge Police Officer. Taylor is remembered as a woman who enjoyed helping Cambridge youth stay on the right path and was a key player in helping to establish a Big Brother/Big Sister program in the city. She felt that it would be better to have an older “sibling” looking after a young person rather than a police officer, and that parents of teenagers should know where their children are at night, who they are with, and that they should set curfews. Taylor was involved in other duties as well, and liked to tell the story of how she used to patrol Harvard Square establishments asking women to put out their cigarettes.
Between the years 1943 and 1971, those who called the Cambridge Police Department at telephone number University 4-9800, may remember switchboard operators Elizabeth Ryan and Catherine Metevier. Metevier retired in 1967, while Ryan retired in 1971.

Taylor was eventually succeeded in the department by Louise Nelson Darling, who was appointed to the department in 1950. Nelson-Darling was awarded the J. Edgar Hoover Award in 1977. This award was given for exceptional contributions to law enforcement and active community service.

Louise Nelson Darling

Meanwhile, Waneda Ward was one of five African American female officers – along with Lorraine Betts, Clara Scott, Yvonne Hall and Jean Murell -- appointed to the department in December 1974.

Officer Waneda Ward

Today, the Cambridge Police Department is led for the first time by four women in its Command Staff. Superintendent Christine Elow oversees the Department’s Operations Division and is the highest ranking woman in the history of the Department. Chief Andrea Brown is responsible for leading the Department's Professional Standards Unit, while Manisha Tibrewal is the Director of Planning, Budget and Personnel, where she oversees all personnel and fiscal matters for the department. Deputy Superintendent Pauline Wells is the Commanding Officer for the Administrative Section. Other notable women in the Department include Brooke Miller and Michaela McManus, who lead the Department’s Crime Scene Service Unit, and Meghan LaMonica, Rebecca Leonard and Devon Bracher from the Crime Analysis Unit..

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Cambridge Police Department

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