Ellen O’Grady claimed to be the first female detective.

So did Mary Sullivan, but Ellen O’Grady had been a matron first, and Mary Sullivan hadn’t been through basic police training.

Additionally, as Mae knew, many claimed to be the first policewoman or the first detective. One claimed to be the first to make an arrest, another the first to testify in court.

To Mae, they were all firsts, all serving at about the same time.

If she had to make a point, Mae would later say that she was the first detective from the first group of policewomen selected from the city’s civil service list, and she was trained and educated as a policewoman before becoming a detective.

She had never been a matron, a civilian working for the department.

A sworn officer since 1923, she earned her detective shield. And she fulfilled her role every day on the job.

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