News and Tribune

Clark County

June 28, 2006

Police pioneer retiring from Jeff’s force

Gavin led Shop with a Cop for 25 years

Thirty-one years after becoming the second woman to don the Jeffersonville Police Department’s blue uniform, Sue Gavin is calling it a day.

Gavin, a 59-year-old captain, will become the first woman to retire from the department on July 18. Her last working day is Friday.

“I know in my heart I’m going to miss it so much,” Gavin said. “I also know, in my mind, I’m too old to do this anymore.”

The Charlestown native became a police officer in 1975, about a month after Janice Linne was hired as the department’s first female officer. Linne left after about three years of service.

Then-Mayor Rich Vissing and his police chief, Raymond J. “Buddy” Parker, advertised that they were looking to hire two women. Linne and Gavin were among 35 who applied for the jobs.

“It was kind of hard, at first,” Gavin said. “I don’t really think men were willing to accept women being here.”

Maj. Walter Johnson — who has already worked his last day — will officially retire the same day as Gavin. Johnson, who began his career in 1972, is the last tie to an all-male police force in Jeffersonville.

“I think she’s had a very positive effect on this place,” Chief John Monihon said. “Sue has suffered through that period where, if you’re not a man, you’ve got no business in this job.”

Gavin has worked in administration for about four years. Before that, she was a road officer except for a brief period in the 1980s, when she served as the department’s public information officer under Chief Jerry Priest.

But Gavin’s role as a pioneer extends beyond her helping shatter the gender barrier. She is the founder of the city’s Shop with a Cop program.

Gavin explained that while working a school crossing detail at the old Rose Hill Elementary, she noticed a number of children coming to school of cold days without warm coats, hats, gloves and shoes. She approached Connie Daugherty, who was then the school’s principal, and the two began brainstorming, with the hope of helping the kids.

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