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America's First Female Law Enforcement Helicopter Pilot

Los Angeles County, Sheriff, Pilot, Helicopter, 1981

Sheriff Peter Pitchess pins Sheriff's pilot wings on Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Julie Cabe, 1981. Photo from Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Facebook.

In 1981, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Juliann “Julie” Cabe received her Sheriff’s Department pilot wings to become the nation’s first full-time female law enforcement helicopter pilot. Only seven years earlier did the U.S. Army graduate the nation's first female military helicopter pilot.

Cabe joined the LASD in 1968 and went on to serve in custody and patrol assignments. Eventually, her interest in law enforcement aviation led to an assignment with LASD’s Aero Bureau. She wasn’t satisfied, however, with being a helicopter observer. On her own time and financed from her own pocket, she undertook training to fly helicopters. This led to her historic appointment by Sheriff Peter Pitchess to be a helicopter pilot for the department. Cabe retired from the LASD in 1989.