Oral history interview for the National History Law Enforcement Museum with Jana Monroe, currently the director of Corporate Security and Business Resilience for Southern California Edison.
“I think it was challenging for some of the superiors to really know what to do with me.”
Jana Monroe has never waited for an invitation. As one of the first female sworn officers in California policing, Monroe was “pretty much an anomaly” throughout her career. At first she was given traditionally feminine roles – looking after children at an arrest, dealing with juvenile offenders, and talking to female victims, but Monroe wanted more out of the job. In 1973, the FBI, under a new director, allowed women to enter their ranks as special agents. Monroe was interested in the challenges of being a federal officer, but her then husband was against the idea. When he asked her to choose, Monroe’s response was simple, “Okay, I’m going in the FBI.” Monroe worked in several field offices during her early years with the Bureau but her goal was always to serve in the prestigious Behavioral Science Unit (BSU). In the 1990s, Monroe joined a select group of agents led by John Douglas and Roy Hazelwood in profiling serial, mass, and spree-type killers. The work of the BSU challenged Monroe and, eventually, enabled her to move on to several higher level positions including Assistant Director of the FBI’s Cyber Division. Monroe retired from the FBI in 2007 as the Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix field office.