Alice Stebbins Wells – first U.S. woman with arrest powers

Alice Stebbins Wells

Alice Stebbins Wells was born in Kansas and educated at Oberlin College, where she studied the need for female police officers. She then went to the Hartford Theological Seminary and became a minister and social worker.

But life took her back to her topic of study in college. She believed that “children and abused and sexually assaulted women needed a female police officer to confide in; most women, she pointed out, were extremely uncomfortable in reporting crimes to male officers.”

So in 1910 she was hired as a police officer in Los Angeles, becoming the first woman in the U.S. to have arrest powers.