Kathleen Reilly, known as Kitty, pictured at her graduation, became the first female Nassau County police officer in 1966, and was the only female officer lost in the performance of duty, killed in an accident on Christmas night 1967. She was off-duty when she stopped to assist a stranded motorist on the Meadowbrook Parkway, where she was struck by a passing car. Legislation to change the inscription on all badges from "Patrolman" to "Police Officer" was put in motion after her death, but it took until 1981 before badges were changed.
The first Nassau County police patrolmen drove convertible Ford runabouts, above, and were forbidden to put the top up except in rain or snow. Patrolmen were also responsible for all vehicle maintenance.
The Nassau police say theirs is one of the first departments to use DNA as evidence in a case and the first to use color film for crime scene photographs.
The Nassau department started in 1925 with an all-Caucasian male force of 55 reassigned town and village sheriffs. The current force has 2,568 sworn members - 267 of them women, 151 Hispanic, 114 African-American, 24 Asian and six Indian, according to records. Starting pay for an officer was $2,000 per year. Today starting salary is $34,000, and the top minimum for a veteran officer is $108,000.
The Suffolk County police force was launched Jan. 1, 1960 with 619 officers. Today, there are 2,502 - 282 of them women. There are 187 Hispanic, 60 African-American, 25 Asian and two American Indian officers. Starting pay for an officer in 1960 was $4,800. Today it is $42,000. And the top minimum for a veteran officer is $108,608.