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The Nation : Female Chief Alleges Bias

May 14, 1987

Penny Harrington, the nation's first female chief of a major police force, filed a federal sex discrimination suit alleging that members of her Portland, Ore., vice squad conspired to embarrass and drive her from office. "I spent over 20 years of my life struggling against overwhelming odds to get to the point where I could become chief of police," she told reporters. "In less than two months, not only was I removed as chief, but my life's work was destroyed." Her forced resignation "ruined my career" as a police official, making it impossible for her to get another job, she said.

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