The integration of women into law enforcement positions can be considered a substantial social change. A century ago, there were few jobs open to women in law enforcement. A small number of women worked as correctional officers, and their assignments were usually limited to peripheral tasks. Colorado State Patrol is proud of its strong legacy of women serving as members of our team.
The first women’s uniform was actually a man's uniform. Women had to take their shirts and pants to a tailor to get them fitted. Today, uniforms and leather gear are made specifically for women and the need for tailoring has been greatly minimized.
In January 1977, Linda Dodd, Patricia O'Rourke, and Judith Tolbert were the first three women hired to attend the Colorado State Patrol Academy. At that time, they were considered "Patrolmen" since all officers were considered Patrolmen until 1979 when the terminology was changed to "Trooper." Patricia O'Rourke is considered the first female trooper of the Colorado State Patrol. Upon graduation, she was stationed in Vail. On March 1, 1984, she was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to Steamboat Springs. Trooper O’Rourke retired in 1989.
The first women's involvement in the uniformed ranks of the State Patrol began in October 1976, with the inception of the Cadet Program. Within the Cadet Program, candidate officers would spend a period of time riding with an experienced officer. They were allowed to do some of the paper work, assist with accident investigations, and generally learn the functions of a Trooper. Cadets could not sign tickets or documents, as they were not certified officers. They were also assigned to work in a communications center and in a troop office for a period of time.
Francis Galvin was the first female trooper to be killed in the line of duty. She entered the Patrol in October of 1977. On May 24, 1979, Trooper Galvin was investigating a fatal accident east of Pueblo when she was struck by a vehicle. She died of her injuries the next day. She was 37 years old, and only one of six female officers in the State Patrol at the time.
The first African American woman hired by the Colorado State Patrol was Rosiland Johnson in 1986. She made history again when she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1991.
In 1994, Lora Thomas made history when she was sworn in as the first female Troop Captain in 1994, after becoming a trooper in 1984. She was then promoted to Major in 1998, becoming the first woman to obtain that rank, as well.
Anne Robinson became a trooper in 1989, assigned to Frisco. She promoted to Corporal in 1996 and Sergeant in 2001. In 2012 she was recognized as a Master Sergeant, the first female at that rank. In 2014 she was promoted to Sergeant Major, the first female at this rank and also only the fourth-ever in the Patrol.
Brenda Leffler began her career as a trooper in 1993 and was promoted to Captain of Homeland Security in 2005 and to Major of Homeland Security in 2007. She became the first woman to obtain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2012, overseeing Region Two.
Women's Resource Network
The mission of the Colorado State Patrol Women's Resource Network (WRN) is to provide a positive network of resources, mentorship, training and opportunities for community involvement to members for the purpose of ultimate life enrichment, while honoring the Colorado State Patrol core values.