HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) on Thursday celebrated 50 years since the first women joined their ranks. Pennsylvania State Police on Thursday celebrated 50 years since the first women joined their ranks. PSP was the nation’s first state police agency to include female troopers
Fourteen women made history as the first female state troopers after graduating from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in 1972. They were part of the 31st Cadet Class, the first to admit women.
The women of the 31st Cadet Class took on jobs that had only been held by men for the first 67 years that the department existed.
Kathryn Doutt was the first woman in PSP history to head a bureau when she became the director of the Bureau of Patrol in 1995. She was also PSP’s first female troop commander, leading Troop K in Philadelphia.
Lucinda Hammond was the first female trooper to receive the Pennsylvania State Police Commendation Medal, one of the department’s highest awards. She received it in 1989 after she and another trooper pulled a trapped occupant out of a tractor-trailer involved in a fiery crash just before the truck exploded.
Romaine Engle Edwards from Hummelstown was the first woman to apply to the academy. She was assigned to Troop J in Lancaster and served a total of 48 years with the state police.
“We’re all a little bit older,” Edwards said. “It’s fun to remember what it was like here. It was an interesting time because when we first got here, they didn’t know what to do with females.”
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The other women of the 31st Cadet Class were Regina Adams, Jill Bairhalter, Judith Galloway, Nancy Lightner, Judith McCarr, Ann Metcalf, Patricia Moe, Kathryn Neville, Mary Connie Rossetti, Doris Sott, and Barbara Wharrey.
The surviving members of the first group of female state troopers were invited to a ceremony in their honor in Hershey on Thursday.
Since that first group of 14 women, over 300 women have enlisted.