The Los Angeles Police Department was mourning the loss of its first female Hispanic officer to graduate from the academy.
Josephine Serrano Collier, who served with the department for 16 years, died at the age of 91 late last month.
“The path for my success and other women of the LAPD is paved with the courage of Josephine Serrano (Collier) and others like her,” said Sandy Jo MacArthur, assistant chief with the LAPD office of administrative services.
Collier was born on March 14,1922 in Arizona. After misfortune and revolution in Mexico, her family brought her to California where they settled into the Lincoln Heights area.
Despite cultural traditions encouraging her into a domestic lifestyle, Collier applied for one of the LAPD’s early groups of female recruits on the advice of a friend.
Out of 200 women who applied, Collier became one of only nine hired. She officially became an LAPD officer on Oct. 1, 1946 at the age of 24.
“In great sadness but with the utmost gratitude, our Department thanks Josephine for her sacrifices and for breaking the lines that divided women from many assignments in the early history of LAPD,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "Those sacrifices and her commitment opened the door for many women and Latinas in the Department, setting the stage for future generations."
Collier worked in the Hollenbeck and Central divisions, laboring on several assignments, including foot beats, vice, bunco, juvenile and the Lincoln Heights Jail.
Collier married a fellow officer, Darwin Jack Collier, and raised three children with him. She retired in 1960 and worked briefly as a counselor for the LA Job Corp. before uprooting to Idaho where she took up cattle raising with her husband. They later moved to Tucson, Ariz..
Collier died on Feb. 25 in Arizona.