Littleton Police History

Thelma Mason
Littleton Police Department photo

Policewoman Thelma Mason completes paperwork at the police station in the Town Hall on Main Street. In 1958, Mason was the first female to be employed by the Littleton Police Department. She was initially hired as a parking enforcement officer but she eventually handled many other duties including radio dispatching, secretarial and record keeping work, juvenile and domestic counseling, searching female prisoners, and crime prevention education.

Mason attended police training classes together with male officers and she reportedly drove a marked police car on occasion. She wore a police uniform although it differed from men's uniforms in several ways: she wore a skirt in place of trousers; she carried a pistol in her purse instead of using a gun belt and holster; and she wore a small badge bearing the title "POLICEWOMAN," unlike larger badges worn by male officers that were imprinted "PATROLMAN." Mason's duties and status in the Department typified the general nature of police work for women during the 1950's and 1960's.

Female officers in Littleton today are assigned the same duties and wear the same uniforms as their male counterparts. All officers now wear badges that bear the simple title "PATROL OFFICER." Thelma Mason resigned from the Police Department in 1961.