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More than 200 Women Killed in Law Enforcement Service

In the Line of Duty

By Craig W. Floyd, Chairman & CEO, June 1, 2007

Deputy Sheriff Maria Cecilia Rosa
According to friends and colleagues, Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Maria Cecilia Rosa was "hard charging," but also had a genuine warmth and love for life. She could also be tough, probably the result of losing both of her parents when she was only 13.

She was the youngest of six children and had immigrated to the United States from Mexico. She wanted to make a difference with her life and chose a career in law enforcement, joining the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 2000. On the morning of March 28, 2006, she was on her way to work when tragedy struck.

Around 6 a.m. she was placing some items in the trunk of her car when she was ambushed in an apparent robbery attempt. She had drawn her weapon, but was shot multiple times before she could defend herself. Detective Rosa, 30, died a short while later at a local hospital.

"Cesi is like the rose of virtue," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said at her funeral, using Detective Rosa's nickname. "She chose to live a positive life . . . she chose to do what is right, she chose to fight what is wrong."
 
Detective Rosa is one of six female officers killed in the line of duty last year, out of the 145 total law enforcement fatalities nationwide.

The others included: Fairfax County (VA) Detective Vicky Armel, 40, who was shot and killed during an ambush attack in a police station parking lot;

Deputy Elizabeth Edwards, 26, of the Hardin County (IL) Sheriff's Office, who was killed in an automobile accident caused by an icy roadway;

U.S. Air Force Security Police Officer Erin S. Frasier, 18, who also died in an automobile accident while on patrol;

Lee County (FL) Deputy Sheriff Margena Silvia Nunez, 44, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while directing traffic at an accident scene;

and Fairfield (AL) Police Officer Mary F. Smith, 48, who was shot and killed responding to a suspicious vehicle report.

Detective Vicky Armel Deputy Elizabeth Edwards Officer Erin S. Frasier Deputy Sheriff Margena Silvia Nunez Officer Mary F. Smith

The names of 216 women now grace the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The first woman in law enforcement to be killed in the line of duty was a correctional officer. Her name was Anna Hart and she was a jail matron with the Hamilton County (OH) Sheriff's Department. On July 24, 1916, Jail Matron Hart was beaten to death by an inmate who was hiding behind a curtain with an iron bedpost in his hand.

Officer Julie Jacks

 
On May 17, 2001, Julie Jacks, a 26-year-old officer with the Chattanooga (TN) Police Department, was named her department's "Rookie of the Year." Less than a year later she was shot and killed by a man who had fled from police after being taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation. 
Trooper Kimberly Hurd

 
Kimberly Hurd, a six-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, had dedicated her life to keeping drunk drivers off the road. During a three-year period beginning in 1989, she had made more than 400 drunk driving arrests. In a terrible irony, Trooper Hurd was struck and killed by a drunk driver on July 16, 1992.
 
Officer Irma Ruiz
Chicago Police Officer Irma Ruiz is one of four female officers in her department's history to be killed in the line of duty. She was shot and killed in 1988 when she confronted a crazed gunman who had entered a school filled with young students. She and her partner, Greg Jaglowski, confronted a mentally deranged gunman at a city school after the man had already shot four people, three fatally. Officer Ruiz was shot and killed in the incident. Officer Jaglowski, despite being shot and seriously injured, managed to kill the assailant. Irma and Greg were credited with saving the lives of hundreds of young school children that day. 

Officer Tina Kerbrat
Only two of the 198 Los Angeles police officers killed in the line of duty were women, which is rather surprising for a department that was the first in the nation to give arrest powers to a female officer, Alice Stebbins Wells, in 1910. It would be more than 80 years before a Los Angeles policewoman would have to make the ultimate sacrifice. Her name was Tina Kerbrat, a mother of two who was in her rookie year with the Los Angeles Police Department. Her husband, Tim, was a career firefighter and Tina shared her husband's deep devotion to helping others. With her dream of becoming a police officer finally realized at the age of 34, Tina was patrolling her beat with her partner when they spotted two men sitting on a sidewalk drinking beer. They pulled their cruiser over and began to question the two men. One of the men, an illegal immigrant, pulled out a .357 Magnum and opened fire on Tina, striking her fatally in the head. They named an award in Tina's honor. It is given to the most improved member of the department's rookie class. 

Ironically, one of the Tina Kerbrat Award winners was Christy Lynne Hamilton, the second woman ever to die in the line of duty in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. Like Tina, Christy was also in her rookie year, at the age of 45, having put her dream of becoming a police officer on hold while she raised her two children. On February 22, 1994, just four days after Officer Hamilton's graduation ceremony from the Police Academy, she was shot and killed by a 17-year-old youth. The killer was a habitual drug user who had murdered his father and then waited to ambush the police officers he knew would soon be responding.
 
Police Matron Marta Shanaman was the first of six female officers killed in Detroit Police Department history-more than any other law enforcement agency, with the exception of Puerto Rico, which also has lost six female officers in the line of duty. On December 12, 1971, while supervising prisoners at the Department's central detention facility, Police Matron Shanaman was shot and killed during an escape attempt.
 
Another of the six lost in Detroit was Officer Shynelle Mason. Just 21 years old, Officer Mason was shot and killed out of revenge by a man she had previously arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. Police believe she was killed in a chance meeting with the man on July 14 at a local gas station.

   
Officer Christy Lynne Hamilton Matron Marta Shanaman Officer Shynelle Mason

Officer Mason died doing what she loved. "She was very focused," said Shantelle Mason, Officer Mason's older sister. "She was a very sensitive person who knew what she wanted. She always wanted to come home and be a Detroit police officer. It doesn't seem possible that she could die in such a random way. She will be missed by everyone who knew her."