Policewoman Elizabeth Faber
First Female Officer Shot in the Line of Duty
Today in Baltimore Police History 17 October 1914 Policewoman Elizabeth Faber was shot down on the west end of the Edmondson Avenue bridge by a black male on the bridge as she and her partner (Patrolman George W. Popp) attempted to effect his arrest. The suspect quickly turned and opened fire on the pair, little hope was entertained by doctors at Franklin Square Hospital for Officer Faber’s survival. At 4 A. M. her recovery chances seemed even less possible. She was shot by a pickpocket along with her partner Patrolman George W. Popp, of the Northwest police district. Officer Pop was also severely wounded he is at the hospital but his chances for recovery were listed as good. Mrs. Faber was shot through one of her lungs and Patrolman Popp has a wound in the side and another in the thigh. At midnight the deposition of the policewoman was taken by Justice Schirm and will be used in case of her death.- making her the first Woman Officer to be shot in the line of duty... She would nearly die as a result of her injuries, and by this time a year later in 1915, she would resign her post as a Baltimore Policewoman.
It should be noted, she was bad ass, one of the smallest of the women officers of her time, she was also one of the most active, often fighting men nearly twice her size. An interesting fact about policewomen of the time, while the first female officer hired was Mary S. Harvey, EOD of June 19, 1912, followed by Margaret B. Eagleston July 22, 1912, they were hired two years before this shooting, at a time when female officers were not trained and did not carry firearms. It would be more than 10 years later in 1925 that female officers would finally be trained and provided with a firearm - 28 March 1925 to be exact. Two female members of the department were given their first lesson in pistol shooting. The newspaper wrote, "Baltimore policewomen yesterday received their first lesson in the use of firearms. Lieut. James O. Downes, expert marksman and instructor of the Baltimore Police Department's Pistol Team, explained the use of pistols to the two policewomen. Mrs. Mary J. Bruff and Miss Margaret B. Eagleston as they were the students who appeared at the Central police station yesterday for this training. Several minutes later the basement of the building resounded with sharp reports (sounds of gunfire) as efforts were made to pierce the "Bulls-eye". The target was 6 feet in distance from the policewomen. Other policewomen would receive their first lessons next week. The distance of the target will be increased as Lieut. Downes plans to make each of five into "Expert Shots". With the exception of Mrs. Mary Harvey, none of the policewomen were familiar with firearms. The others were Miss Eva Aldridge and Ms. Mildred Campbell. But this was not so strange, when Mrs. Whyte came on in 1937, making her the first ever black officer to be hired by the Baltimore Police Department, not only didn’t Mrs. Whyte never wear a uniform but she also never carried a gun.
Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll