The Story of the Sex Discrimination Lawsuit that Would Get Female Police Officers Back in the Field and the Woman Who Filed It With Little to No Help from Anyone
BEND, OR, November 20, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — Today marks the fortieth anniversary of a historic class-action lawsuit’s consent decree. The case—spearheaded by a female police sergeant with little to no help from anyone—would help abolish institutionalized sexual and racial discrimination practices not just in the LAPD but in law enforcement in general.
A new memoir, Busting the Brass Ceiling: How a Heroic Female Cop Changed the Face of Policing (Incubation Press, 2020), chronicles the circumstances that compelled Fanchon Blake to sue her beloved police department and the turbulent seven-year lawsuit, which would change the face of policing.
“Fanchon Blake has been a hero of mine for many years. She single-handedly initiated one of the country’s landmark Title VII cases. Her contribution to the equality of women and other minorities in law enforcement is immeasurable,” writes Joseph Wambaugh, the bestselling author of police and crime books who penned Busting the Brass Ceiling‘s foreword.
Allowing women equal opportunity in law enforcement is not just a gender parity issue. For the last three decades, evidence has pointed to women as the solution to excessive police force. From the 1991 report by the Christopher Commission (formed in response to the Rodney King beating) to studies like “Women Police: The Use of Force by and Against Female Officers” (Schuck, Rabe-Hemp; 2005), research has found that women de-escalate violent situations. Women on the beat don’t just reduce excessive police force; they increase police effectiveness. A 2018 study (Miller, Segal, 2018) shows that violent crimes against women, especially domestic violence, are reported at higher rates and result in “significant declines in rates of intimate partner homicide and non-fatal domestic abuse.”
Despite calls to feminize the force, according to a 2019 National Institute of Justice report, females only make up an average of 13 percent of police officers even though they represent half the country’s population. Still, without the courage of women like Busting the Brass Ceiling author Fanchon Blake, American police departments would have remained largely male and white.
Blake, however, sure didn’t know what she was getting herself into or what it would cost her.
“I can’t imagine a more difficult platform to rise on, or the courage it took to single-handedly push women forward despite harassment and even danger from her own people,” writes Barbara Hinske, an attorney and bestselling author. “Busting the Brass Ceiling is an inspiring story of courage and persistence, peppered with insights about policing that are just as pertinent today as they were in Fanchon’s day. A page-turner, to be sure.”
Busting the Brass Ceiling: How a Heroic Cop Changed the Face of Policing by Fanchon Blake and Linden Gross (Incubation Press, 2020) is available online and in stores. To learn more about the book or to connect with Linden Gross, please visit https://lindengross.com/writer/book-titles/busting.
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