My Twenty Years on the LAPD
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 Warmhearted, charmingly offbeat memoir by the LAPD's last policewoman. When she retired from the force in 1989, Hays (writing with the help of freelancer Moloney) tells us, her badge--``Policewoman One''--retired with her. For in 1972, all LAPD policewomen were asked to retrain as ``police officers,'' with the same uniform and promotional possibilities as male cops. Only Hays refused: ``I don't think there can be a unisex approach to police work...I would not give up my badge, and I would not give up my skirt.'' And so Hays, soon nicknamed ``The Dinosaur,'' stayed on as the LAPD's sole policewoman--and apparently loved being a living anachronism. Here, she relishes her femininity: Proud to be the daughter of top-billed stripper Gay Dawn, Hays delights at having been chosen ``Miss Fuzz'' in a 1972 LAPD beauty contest--a feat that catapulted her on to The Tonight Show--and at her ability to masquerade as a hooker on the ``Trick Task Force'' (where a pimp ``gave me the street name Sweetcheeks''). Her last day on the force, she showed up in one of her mom's stripper gowns, a feather boa, and spiked heels. Beneath the frills, though, Hays seems to have been one tough cop--as evidenced by several thinly told, action-oriented chapters that detail how she guarded prisoners, investigated domestic violence, went undercover on the homicide beat, and, with the elite COBRA unit, tracked down ``hardcore, dangerous criminals.'' And beneath Hays's upbeat, mostly good-humored reminiscences, several serious notes sound, particularly in her descriptions of working with victims of child abuse--and of her own childhood molestations. Lacking the grit and raw power that most cop buffs go for, but, still, an appealing novelty--just like its author.ng novelty- -just like its author.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-394-58528-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992


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