In 1975, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Irma Alvarez became the first female peace officer in California to have been intentionally shot and wounded in the line of duty. The incident occurred on August 28, 1975, when Alvarez, patrolling alone, made a traffic stop on a speeding car in Pico Rivera. Unbeknownst to her, the two occupants of the speeding vehicle were fleeing from having just committed armed robbery at a local store. After warily approaching with the driver, who had quickly exited the car, she was assaulted and engaged in an intense physical struggle.
She ended up being shot by one of the assailants through the arm into her chest.
The assailants fled, but Alvarez, battered, wounded and bleeding, got back to her car and calmly radioed for help and described her assailants. The two were later captured.
Her courage and calm in response to the violent encounter demonstrated and ensured a place for female law enforcement officers in patrol work.
After recovery, Alvarez returned to patrol duty in Pico Rivera. Her assailants were convicted and sentenced to prison. She retired from the Sheriff's Department in 2000.