May 26, 1915 | Aletha Gilbert, City Mother, LAPD

 Aletha Gilbert, City Mother, Los Angeles, (CA) Police Department

“Girls and boys, away from the influences of their homes, are invited to call whenever they feel the need of a guiding hand. Everything that a mother would do for her child will be done for the youth of Los Angeles…” 

-Aletha Gilbert, City Mother, Los Angeles (CA) Police Department*

“Oh Joy! Next City Dance is on Saturday” ran the headline in the Los Angeles Record on May 26, 1915. Just a year into LAPD City Mother Aletha Gilbert’s tenure and one of her first projects was already garnering headlines. Gilbert had instituted chaperoned City Dances to lure L.A.’s youth from the dangers of the common dance halls. These popular dances were one of many practices implemented by Gilbert to help instill “right living and right thinking” in the city’s teenagers. The policewomen of the City Mother’s Bureau sought out troubled youth in order to help them stay out of Juvenile Court.  Gilbert retired in 1929, but the City Mother’s Bureau continued to serve and protect the citizens of Los Angeles until 1964.


*Quoted in Janis Appier’s Policing Women: The Sexual Politics of Law Enforcement and the LAPD (Philadelphia: Temple University, 1998).