A reunion to remember for sisters in blue.
Dozens of retired women police officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office came together this weekend to salute and support one another.
Some of these women were the first to protect and serve the Jacksonville community in the 1970s.
While some were reunited, others were meeting each other for the first time.
The reunion was the idea of J.J. Dixon, who retired as an officer in 2014.
“There weren’t a lot of women even in 1990, but the ones that were there, they really did embrace the younger females and helped us on our way,” Dixon said.
As a woman officer, it was especially hard in the early years when there were few woman officers. They did not always feel welcomed, but pushed forward and served the community.
Darlene Geiser was the first woman sergeant for the JSO.
“It is really difficult to see people you work with at funerals and we did not want to do that again,” she said.
Retha Smith was the first African-American officer in 1973.
“We just had two female police officers pass, and it is so nice to see we need to capture what we have because we have lost so much,” Smith said. “It’s just nice to be here today.”
For moments like this.
“This was my partner when I worked in sex crimes, and we would work all day and then we would work out and go drink beer,” Dixon said while hugging a former co-worker. “It’s almost overwhelming. It’s overwhelming. Some of us haven’t seen each other in almost 10 years.”
As these women take photos and look back on their memories from their years as police officers, they are grateful to be here and hope they have started a tradition of honoring their fellow women officers.
This is the first time the reunion has ever happened and they hope it is not the last.