Honoring pioneering police officers Flossie Crump and Felicia Allen
Flossie Crump and Felicia Allen, the first two women sworn into the Sacramento Police Department, were honored for paving the way for other women interested careers in local law enforcement, despite many challenges, during a department ceremony on Thursday.
About 200 family members, former and current officers, and city representatives gathered at the department’s Freeport Boulevard headquarters, where the building’s atrium was named in their honor.
A portrait of the two women revealed at the dedication ceremony will be hung at the atrium’s entrance along with plaques bearing their names and story, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said. They two women were sworn-in in 1974.
“They were the first to do what they did and if you hear their story, you will know it took tremendous courage, dedication and the ability to overcome many forces pitted against them,” Hahn said. “But because they did, we can.”
Crump started as a patrol officer but quickly rose to the rank of detective and worked assignments in the department’s sex crimes and child abuse unit and homicide unit, among others. Her career spanned 25 years. Allen worked as a beat cop for 16 years, a job that took her to various parts of the city, including Oak Park, south Sacramento and downtown.
Both women, who are black, described multiple incidents of blatant racism and sexism from some of the department’s officers, and sometimes the citizens they swore to protect and serve.
For Allen, that meant being told she was not selected for specialized positions, or told to not bother applying, because she was a woman. Crump remembers an incident involving two sergeants who repeatedly talked about her rear loud enough for her and others to hear.
Crump and Allen said Thursday that the support they received from other officers, family and friends, helped them persevere though difficult times.
“We gained the respect of the Sacramento Police Department,” Allen said. “What I learned, I learned how to be calm in the midst of a storm.”
The event was attended by Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who presented both women with keys to the city, and other local officials like City Manager Howard Chan and Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. Steinberg said while Sacramento has improved in terms of diversity since 1974, there was still room for improvement.
“It is easy to take for granted Sacramento’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion,” he said. “But it’s only that way today because pioneers persevered when it was not so easy. That’s the lesson of today.”