POLICEWOMAN ONE by Gayleen Hays

POLICEWOMAN ONE

My Twenty Years on the LAPD
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 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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