'This profession is a very hard profession, and I have had good mentors throughout my career.'
-- Shirley Gifford, Soldotna Police chief
Soldotna Police Chief Shirley A. Gifford will receive the National Center for Women and Policing's Breaking the Glass Ceiling award in Los Angeles this evening.
Gifford, who has been in law enforcement for 27 years, is being honored as "one of the few women in the United States who has attained a high-ranking position in a law enforcement agency," according to a letter informing her of the award.
Before being appointed chief of the Soldotna department, Gifford served the Anchorage Police Department for 20 years, becoming its first woman sergeant, first woman lieutenant and first woman captain. She completed her Anchorage career as captain in charge of detectives in 1997.
"I'm very honored to be getting this award," Gifford said Friday.
"This profession is a very hard profession, and I have had good mentors throughout my career."
Gifford was to be accompanied to the award ceremony by her daughter, Morgan, a 19-year-old University of Hawaii student.
The chief, who has attended the FBI National Academy, is a 1974 graduate of Michigan State University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. She is the founding president of the Women Police of Alaska.
Her husband, Bill Gifford, also is a retired Anchorage police captain, who now works as an investigator in the Alaska State Troopers cold-case unit in Soldotna.
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