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Margaret Adams
America's First Female Deputy Sheriff

Margaret Queen Adams became the first female deputy sheriff in the United States when she joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 1912. By this time, it was not unprecedented for Los Angeles women to pioneer in law enforcement. Four years earlier, in 1909, Alice Stebbins Wells, became the nation's first female police officer after joining the Los Angeles Police Department.

Adams was sister-in-law to Los Angeles County Sheriff William Hammel (Sheriff 1899-1902, 1907-1914, and LAPD Chief 1904-1905). Adams decided to become a deputy after separating from her husband and finding that she needed to support her two children. Her brother-in-law offered her a job in his department but she agreed to accept the offer only if deputized. She took her oath and received her badge on February 16, 1912.

Photo of Deputy Margaret Adams at work

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Margaret Adams at work (on the left). Undated photo.

Towards the end of her 35-year career as a deputy sheriff, Adams held an important position as coordinator of all evidence processed through the Los Angeles Courthouse. She retired in 1947. Her death in 1974 came just six months short of her 100th birthday. She was buried, wearing her Sheriff's badge, at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.

Also see: LAPD Officer Alice Stebbins Wells, first woman police officer in the U.S. and LAPD Officer Georgia Ann Robinson, one of the first African American woman police officers.