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Pennsylvania’s Top Prosecutor Shares Challenges of Women In Law Enforcement

(Pennsylvania attorney general speaks to the Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement, standing behind a row of badges of women who have died in the line of duty.  Credit: John Ostapkovich)

(Pennsylvania attorney general speaks to the Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement, standing behind a row of badges of women who have died in the line of duty. Credit: John Ostapkovich)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A four-day women-in-law enforcement conference, sponsored by Amtrak, got under way this morning at a hotel in Old City Philadelphia.

Attendees heard first from Pennsylvania’s top law enforcer who, for the first time in decades, is a woman.

Linda Kelly is Pennsylvania’s first female attorney general since the office became independent in 1981, and she told the Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement of prying her way into an all-male field.

She says no one but her mother encouraged her to go to law school.  And after graduation, working for the Pittsburgh DA, she recalls, colleagues, police, and judges didn’t know what to make of her.

“I was an alien in their midst,” Kelly says.  “Back then I was called many things by judges in the courtroom, from ‘young miss’ to ‘Madame Prosecutor’ to ‘honey.’  And during one suppression hearing, I was called ‘Linda, dear’ about a dozen times.  I don’t think that happens anymore.”

Kelly tells of having a visitor at her home who, when told it was the AG’s residence, reached past her and shook her husband’s hand.

She told the female cops in attendance today that they are both helping and changing the world.

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