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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

VINTAGE LAPD: POLICEWOMAN NO. 2

Los Angeles Police Department's second policewoman, Minnie Barton, befriended several homeless girls while working with young women on parole or probation. Often these girls had nowhere else to go and no prospects for the future, so she attempted to help them rebuild their lives by taking them into her home and offering them vocational training.
 
In 1917, Barton and the wife of L.A. Police Chief John Butler met with prominent local women at the downtown Broadway department store to form the Big Sister League an establish the Minnie Barton Home. In those early years, Barton and her supporters were primarily interested in women just released from jail. Often younger women, particularly first offenders, were committed to the Barton Home in lieu of jail sentences.
 
In 1926, this temporary facility became the Bide-a-Wee Home for pregnant and unwed or forsaken women, often left destitute as a result of the father's jail confinement or abandonment. The Home has since expanded and is now known as The Big Sister League, a United Way agency.

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