Harvard Hires Policewoman; Will Join Force Next Month

The Harvard police has ended a year's search and hired a policewoman, for the first time in the history of the 75-person force.

Joan White, a former social worker, must complete the mandatory four-week training program at the State Police Academy for Campus Police before she can take on her duties as Harvard's first policewoman.

White is "an outstanding young woman," Chief Robert Tonis said yesterday. "She's confident, pleasant, attractive, and she'll lend a nice attitude to the force. We're proud to have her."


White's responsibilities will be the same as any other policeman's, Chief Tonis said. "She'll patrol and, as with all other Harvard policemen, she'll begin first with a night shift."

White will receive her route assignment after she graduates from the Academy training program. "I'm sure she'll be an excellent policeman," Tonis added.


Two Years Later

Tonis said he had been considering hiring a woman for the past two years and had begun interviewing prospective policewomen last year. White is the first woman he felt was suitable for the job, he said.

When asked what he looked for when interviewing potential Harvard policemen, Tonis replied, "I really don't know. I just use my intuition. But neatness, a fair degree of intelligence, politeness--they're all extremely important."

Another opening on the force, in addition to the post filled by White, was filled with a male candidate.

'Not For Publicity'

Stephen S.J. Hall, vice president for administration, said yesterday Harvard has intended to fill vacancies on the police force with women. "But we're not doing this for publicity," he said. "It's not such a special event. We just thought we would do it, so we did it."

Walter Leonard, special assistant to the president, said yesterday it was unfortunate the hiring had not happened sooner. "These days black women suffer most from discriminatory hiring practices. I'm very pleased, of course, but greater numbers of women need to be hired."

Many Harvard policemen seemed indifferent to White's presence on the force. As one policeman said, "Well this isn't really the most dangerous police job in the world. Hell, if a woman wants to be a policeman here, let her. I don't care."