Mount Druitt LAC celebrates 100 years of women in policing

Passing the baton: Constable Hannah Males, Sergeant Julie Underwood and Constable Cassandra Moore outside Mount Druitt police station. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Passing the baton: Constable Hannah Males, Sergeant Julie Underwood and Constable Cassandra Moore outside Mount Druitt police station. Picture: Isabella Lettini

WHEN Lillian Armfield and Maude Rhodes were appointed as special constables in 1915, they weren't allowed to wear uniform or carry firearms.

It was 1948 before women were allowed to wear a uniform in the NSW Police Force, 1965 before they were sworn in as constables, and 1979 before they were allowed to carry firearms as a matter of routine.

"Today, easily a quarter of the officers are women at Mount Druitt local area command," Sergeant Julie Underwood said.

"My background within the police is highway patrol, which was always predominantly male-dominated. Now it's not seen that way at all.

"It's a fantastic job; good hours. They obviously acknowledge that females require maternity leave; they even now look after the males in that regard."

Sergeant Underwood, a cop for 18 years, will be one of 33 officers from her command celebrating the centenary of women in the NSW Police Force by taking part in a baton relay on July 29.

Officers will walk/run from Mount Druitt police station to Whalan Reserve, accompanied by highway patrol cars and carrying a commemorative baton, as part of the inaugural NSW Women in Policing Baton Relay, which started at the Sydney Opera House on March 8.

The public is invited to Whalan Reserve, 10.40am-2pm, for a barbecue, displays (dog squad, mounted police, photos, highway cars), and a colouring-in competition, and touch football.

In touch football it's Mount Druitt police versus Chifley College, and Mount Druitt police versus Indigenous youth involved in Emerton Leisure Centre's Breaking Boundaries program.

The baton will visit 76 NSW police commands before returning to the Opera House in September.

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