Mayor Richard J. Berry and Police Chief Ray Schultz unveiled a new display at the Albuquerque Police Museum Monday March 23, 2012 that honors the long history of women law enforcement officers in Albuquerque.
The Mayor and the Chief also recognized two women who were the first to put on the Albuquerque police uniform. The event is part of National Women’s History Month.
“These women paved the way for so many other women to pursue a career in law enforcement,” Mayor Berry said. “This display will ensure that the sacrifices that made to the community will never be forgotten.”
The women recognized on Friday were Charlotte Yates, who was the second woman hired by APD, and Betty Jo Highsmith, who was the first woman to be promoted to the rank of sergeant and lieutenant.
The display was donated by Falcon Industries and BMC tactical. It features over 100 pictures of women who have worked for the police department as well as news articles.
Currently there are 137 women police officers in the Albuquerque Police Department, including Deputy Chief of Police Beth Paiz, who was the second female officer to reach that high of a rank. Promoting Paiz was one of the Mayor’s first official acts when he took office on Dec. 1, 2009. There are four women currently in APD’s cadet class.
Women have played a key role in APD’s history. In 1966 APD had an all ladies cadet class, In 1995, Debbie Kuidis was the first woman to be promoted to Deputy Chief, in the mid 1980s Ann Aventi became the first woman assigned to APD’s prestigious motorcycle unit, and for the past nine years APD’s official spokesperson has been a woman.
“Women have excelled in the Albuquerque Police Department for a very good reason, “Chief Schultz said. “Some of the finest officers I have worked with in my 30-year career have been women.”