The New York Police Department is celebrating Women’s History Month with a video in which no words are spoken, and the words that are written are completely illegible.
The 4 minute and 50 second film shows a timeline…We think? We can’t be entirely sure because at its normal size, the video’s print is too small to make out and, at any larger size, too pixelated and blurry. It could really just be excerpts from sexual harassment lawsuits filed against the NYPD over the years — the latest of which includes the claim by a 29-year-old officer that a sergeant in her precinct “called her his ‘work p—-‘” — and no one would be able to tell the difference.
See for yourself:
Since the NYPD apparently can’t be bothered, here are some highlights from women in its ranks over the years that we hope are included in the above video.
1895 Minnie Gertrude Kelly, appointed secretary to the Police Board by Theodore Roosevelt, becomes the first woman ever employed at NYPD headquarters. Announcing her appointment, the New York World describes Kelly as “Young, small, and comely with Raven-black hair… and a close-fitting gown.”
1912 Isabella Goodwin is promoted to first grade detective, becoming the first female to rise to the rank, after helping run down a gang of taxi bandits: “desperate criminals [who] got clean away with $25,000 after beating two clerks into insensibility–all at midday in a thickly populated section of downtown New York.”
1918 Mary Sullivan becomes the first woman to make Homicide Detective.Sullivan will later rise to the rank of lieutenant too, and become the head of the NYPD’s Women’s Bureau. The same year, Ellen O’Grady, a Brooklyn widow with three daughters, becomes the first female Deputy Commissioner. In announcing O’Grady’s appointment, Commissioner Enright says her “rugged honesty, experience and fearlessness make her particularly adapted for the work she will be called to do.”
(O’Grady will ultimately quit, denouncing Engright for stripping her of duties he said were “too strenuous”; Sullivan will later be fired by the same Enright who, according to the Times, “did not favor policewomen.”)
1919 Cora I. Parchment becomes the first African-American woman to join the NYPD.
1921 Mary Hamilton is appointed director of the first Women’s Police Precinct. The department, tasked with “preventive and protective work with women, girls and children,” will pay particular attention to runaways and missing girls.
1938 3,500 women take the first civil service exam is held for the position of “policewoman;” there are 27 vacancies to fill.
1967 After suing to be allowed to take the sergeants test, Felicia Shpritzer and Gertrude Schimmel become the NYPD’s first female sergeants.
1978 Gertrude Scimmel becomes the first female deputy chief in the New York City Police Department.
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