Vancouver’s Women in Blue is a comprehensive history of women in the VPD from 1904 through 1975. For decades, VPD history noted that the first females were hired in 1912, but it turns out four matrons were hired between 1904 and 1912. The matrons performed many of the same duties as the police women who were hired in 1912.
When she began the project in 2000, Retired Deputy Chief Carolyn Daley thought that she would undertake an entire history of all women in municipal policing to that point in time however that proved very difficult. She decided to focus only on the VPD.
She also quickly realized she needed to establish an end-date for the project. She chose 1975, the year she started with the VPD and the same year that the legislation was enacted to provide female law enforcement officers with a level playing field in Canada.
From 1904 through 1975, 125 women were hired by the VPD. Today, the VPD boasts 400 female officers or nearly 30% of sworn members. The Senior Executive Team is nearly 50% female (5/12).
There are lots of stories to be told about the resistance that female officers faced, not just in the VPD, but in all police agencies in Canada. However, Vancouver’s Women in Blue isn’t about that. Rather, it is an extraordinary history of the evolution of women in the VPD. Carolyn invited women to participate on the basis that “it is not a war story book, but rather a history book” and dozens of women were pleased to share their stories accordingly.
Endorsements of the book come from retired RCMP Commissioner Beverley Busson, ” Vancouver’s Women in Blue is a story of firsts within the Vancouver Police Department, and chronicles not just the names, but the lives of women who dared to challenge the gender barriers before the phrase ‘glass ceiling’ was even coined..Their stories are ones of courage and determination…” and the Honourable Wally Oppal “An excellent read; former Deputy Chief Constable Carolyn Daley’s history of the women in blue of the Vancouver Police Department is a story that needs to be told…in her extremely impressive history, the former Deputy Chief takes her readers through the historical transformation of the Vancouver Police Department…a must read”.
This book is an essential part of the written history of the VPD. Carolyn hopes that it inspires other young females to consider a career in what she believes is the best profession in the country.