WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Dec. 15, 2021, marked 50 years since the United States Secret Service appointed the first female special agents into its ranks.

Five women paved the way for others to follow suit in law enforcement careers.

“We didn’t have an alternative other than to do it; to do it right, to jump a little higher, to try a little harder to shoot a little straighter,” says Kathryn (Clark) Childers, one of the first five women sworn in. “I am pleased and proud of the Secret Service for making gender a non-issue.”

Officers Laurie Anderson, Sue Ann Baker, Holly Hufschmidt and Phyllis Shantz joined Childers and all five were sworn into the community of federal special agents during a ceremony at the Treasury Department in 1971. The women served in the Executive Protective Service, which is now called the Uniformed Division.

Since that turning point in 1971, women have held nearly every leadership position that men have held including, Director Julia Pierson, Deputy Director Barbara Riggs, Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations Kimberly Cheatle, and many more leadership roles.

Currently, 24 percent of the Secret Service is female. “What I am hoping for is that we continue the momentum of recruiting, hiring and retaining and advancing women in the Secret Service,” says first Latina Deputy Assistant Director Darnelly DeJesus.

To watch the video commemorating this special anniversary, click here.