By Kim Minugh
The Sacramento Bee
Theirs is a story of legacy — in law enforcement, and in equality.
Last month, retired police detective Sharon McClatchy stood atop a stage and pinned a badge on academy graduate Emily Kane — the first time in Sacramento Police Department history that a mother has passed the torch on to her daughter.
Bloodlines are not uncommon in law enforcement, of course. In both the Sacramento Police Department and the county Sheriff’s Department, dozens of families are represented in second or third generations on the force, including those of Chief Sam Somers Jr. and Undersheriff Jamie Lewis. Two of Kane’s classmates are the children of Sacramento police officers.
But many inside or familiar with the Police Department are celebrating Kane’s swearing in as another sign of progress, more than three decades after her mother and nine other women hired in the 1970s — known by some as “the Original 10” — fought hard to break the agency’s glass ceiling.
“What (Sharon McClatchy) has done is pave the road for her daughter,” said Deputy Chief Dana Matthes, the highest-ranking female officer in the agency’s history and the mother of academy graduate Christopher Jensen, whose father is retired Lt. Keith Jensen. “There were a lot of women who paved the way before us. … They really were tremendous role models.”
Officer Michele Gigante, a police spokeswoman, said McClatchy and Kane are reflective of a changing cultural norm within law enforcement.
“People think ‘blue blood,’ and they think father and son. Now, that’s not the case. It could be mother-son, it could be mother-daughter, it could be father-daughter,” said Gigante, whose stepfather is a police officer. “It’s the norm now, and … it’s our society that has gotten us there.”
Among those who joined Kane’s family in celebrating her graduation were Flossie Crump, Felicia Murphy and Mary Savage — three of what McClatchy calls the Original 10 women police officers — and retired Chief Jack Kearns, who hired the women in the 1970s.