IAWP History

From 1915 to now

Formed initially as the International Association of Policewomen in 1915 by Los Angeles, California, Policewoman Alice Stebbins Wells. In 1956, under the name of International Association of Women Police (IAWP), the association was moved forward by President Lois Higgins Grote. IAWP members voted that the organization represent sworn officers offering membership to those with full police authority.

The IAWP served as a clearing house for information, adopted a code of ethics, and was a prelude to professional status, vital to policewomen. Higgins was president for eight years and executive director for twelve, and during her tenure vigorously addressed issues of career opportunities for women police, recognition for female officers within law enforcement, promotion and diversified assignments within departments. In speeches, Higgins called the feminine arm of the law the one that "rocks the cradle, and sometimes shoots a wicked .38."

In 1958, the IAWP reported 320 members, 295 from the U.S., three from Canada, and twenty-two from all other countries.* The organization has since grown to include members from 73 countries, hold​​s annual training conferences in a different worldwide location each year, and embraces diversity and inclusion, continuing the traditions established by the founders.

*Lois Lundell Higgins paper presented at the 1st Biennial International Association of Women Police Conference September 30 - October 2, 1958, Lafayette, Indiana." (Read more in the Our History section of the 100 Year brochure.)

Presidents of the International Association of Women Police

Alice Stebbins Wells, Founder and 1st President (1915)

Mina C. Van Winkle (1919-1932) President, Incorporating Officer and chief financial contributor of the International Association of Policewomen (The organization later became the International Association of Police Women; then in 1969, became the International Association of Women Police.)

1933-1955 The organization was inactive due to the depression[

Lois Lundell Higgins-Grote (1956-1964) President and Incorporating Officer

Elizabeth Frances Mumford (1964-1966) President and Incorporating Officer

Mary Rita Ostrander (1966-1970) President and Incorporating Officer

Lois Becket (1970-1972) President and Incorporating Officer

Felicia Shpritzer (1972-1976) President and Incorporating Officer

Rosie Mason (1976-1980) President and Incorporating Officer

Carolen Bailey (1980-1982)

Mary Wamsley (1982-1984)

Carol Ann Halliday (1984-1988)

Kathy Burke (1988-1991)

Gale Buckner (1991-1994)

Linda Cherry (1994-1996)

Connie Maki (1996-1998)

Laura Goodman-Brown (1998-2000)

Terrie S. Swann (2000-2007)

Amy Ramsay (2007-2009)

Jane Townsley (2009-2015)

Margaret D. Shorter (2015-2018)

Deborah Friedl (2018-present)


Privacy Policy



Email: iawp@iawp.org


© 2024 International Association of Women Police. All Rights Reserved.

The IAWP and the IAWP Foundation are registered in the United States. The International Association of Women Police, Inc. (a professional association) and IAWP Foundation, Inc. (a charitable and educational organization) are founded under the Internal Revenue Service Codes, 501(c)(6) and 501(c)(3) respectively.