By Michele Vaughan, Historian, Ohio State Highway Patrol
was a time when women only could join the Ohio State Highway Patrol
in support and clerical positions. From its creation in 1933 until
1976, the Patrol did not accept female applicants for sworn officer
But since that time more than
30 years ago, women have held positions in almost every rank in
the Division, thanks to legal changes, changes in Patrol policies
and attitudes, and the perseverance of numerous women.
And it all started with one woman.
After federal civil rights laws were amended in
the early 1970s and the Patrol worked to comply with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission’s Conciliation Agreement, the Academy
invited women – for the first time – to join its 100th
||The Division lowered the height
requirement for officers from 5’9” to 5’8”
to allow more women to apply, and recruitment officials compiled a
pool of interested females. In 1976, the Patrol contacted 43 of the
nearly 100 women in the pool to see if they were interested in applying
for a job. There were 23 who kept their appointments and only 15 passed
written exams. Out of those, only two remained interested after passing
physical and background checks.
two women who made it through the physical and academic tests to
get to the Academy, only one of them stuck it out and graduated
with the 100th Class. That woman’s name was Dianne Harris.
Women who followed in Harris’ footsteps all demonstrate that
they are capable of performing the role of a Trooper as well as
their male colleagues. By 1981, the Patrol had 14 female Troopers,
and by the early 1990s, women were moving up the ranks. Today women
make up almost 10 percent of the Patrol’s sworn officer force
and serve in a wide variety of positions including canine handlers
and plainclothes investigators, as well as post commanders and other
command assignments. In fact, Lisa Taylor who became the Patrol’s
first female major in 2004, is a member of the Division’s
senior staff and is commander of the Office of Finance and Logistic
|“I’m really impressed
with what other females are doing in this organization and I really
applaud them all,” Harris said of today’s female Troopers.
Thanks to Dianne Harris and others like
her, women have become integral to the continued success of one
of Ohio’s most prestigious and honored organizations –
the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Now, the requirements to be a Trooper do not include
a height requirement. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, an Ohio
resident (although, that can be waived), have a high school diploma
or G.E.D., have a valid Ohio driver’s license and be 21-34
For more information on how you can apply
to become a Trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, please contact
your local Post, or go to the Division’s website at http://www.dps.state.oh.us/OSHPRecruit/eRecruit.aspx.