Though many might consider the presence of female police officers a "post-liberation phenomenon," the then Charlotte Police Department's history of women behind the badge dates back to 1925 and a young women named Eloise Brown.
Mrs. Brown's hiring might have raised some eyebrows in the pre-Depression era, but records show she was devoted to her duty, first as a member of the detective division, where she spent long hours developing a systematic record-filing technique.
Two years later, she was put in charge of a license bureau and, in 1928, Mrs. Brown became an assistant clerk of court, a job she held until World War II. In 1941, the military-depleted ranks of the police department opened up two more positions Mrs. Brown capably filled: dispatcher and desk sergeant. At the end of the war, she took the job of chief secretary in the Traffic Division and eventually retired in 1959.
Mrs. Brown wasn't Charlotte's only female officer during her 34 year career. Amalie "Tilley" Wallnau and Stella "Pat" Patterson joined the ranks during the period, both holding similar jobs.
Nearly a decade after Mrs. Brown's retirement, Chief John Ingersoll decided the department needed sworn female officers in its ranks. He and his staff set some stringent requirements for female police candidates, including the necessity of a four-year college degree. At the time, male officers needed only a high school diploma.