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Some Excerpts from the Policewomen’s Bureau


This article appeared in the City of Dayton Annual Report of 1941, pages 30-31

Some Excerpts from the Policewomen’s Bureau
by Lula B. Sollers
Supervisor of Policewomen

            On December 16, 1940, the Policewomen’s Bureau moved from the U. B. Annex to the Municipal Building, where we found ourselves located in our new office on the third floor with convenient and pleasant surroundings. By January, 1941, we were comfortably installed, ready to begin working on the one hundred and sixty-nine cases pending from 1940. The public was not long in learning of our change in location. New work began to come in and repeaters returned.
            In early January the public dance hall inspections began and during the year forty-three halls were granted permits. Forty-two nights were spent in the dance halls and eight hundred and forty-seven visits made by the policewomen. Through theses visits were found many undesirable and revolting conditions and we were disturbed to find, many times, small children present. An effort was made to control this practice by ordinance, but our aims met protest and were defeated, but we feel our efforts had some reward from the publicity given. One arrest was made, the case taken into Juvenile Court and a decision given in our favor. Eleven of the dance halls of low standards were marked “Out of Bounds” to the soldiers, who are beginning to be quite numerous in the city. We are expecting this plan to be quite helpful in the future.

            The dance halls, the beer gardens and the bingos are all factors in creating domestic problems. Our statistics show two hundred and forty-three cases of family problems for the year against one hundred and ninety-seven last year. Young husbands are making more money than ever before, much of which is spent on liquor and women. They tire of their wives and children and seek glamour elsewhere. Night work and increasing employment for women are other contributing factors for the breakdown of many of our homes.

            Many women picked up in the beer gardens are venereally infected. When arrested they are held until a return is received from the Public Health Clinic. If positive, this assists the Judge in making his decision. The venereal work is receiving the combined interest of the Department of Health, the Public Health Clinic and our Bureau. Our workers transport the girl or woman to the Station House to await trial. There were sixty-one women and girls taken to the Clinic this past year. We are quite concerned for the woman or girl after her release from the workhouse and feel there is quite a need for some coordination between agencies to assist her in making an adjustment to society after she has reached a negative state. We find some of these women have been victims of circumstances and welcome kind and constructive assistance.
            It is sad to relate that women are disease carriers and excessive drinkers, which is apparently on the increase. This year ten hundred and seventy-six women were arrested in Dayton. It is interesting to note that three hundred and seventy of this number were for intoxication. Almost one-third. Another interesting point is the greatest number of women who drink range from twenty-five to thirty years, many of whom are housewives and mothers.

            And so the role of life unfolds daily. There is never a dull moment in the Policewomen’s Bureau, and our files are full of human interest stories.