Youngstown's trailblazing women in blue honored today


Pioneer women are generally thought of as having traveled in covered wagons or buckboards, often wearing long dresses or skirts, helping carry the load of life on the frontier.

But the trailblazing women who were honored Saturday during the Sisterhood In Blue program downtown travel in police cruisers and fire trucks, wearing badges and turnout gear, breaking gender barriers by boldly going where only men had gone before.

“It truly was like the wild west at the Youngstown Police Department in 1978,” said Susan Centorame, who was among the half-dozen women who spoke about their experiences. The Trailblazing Women of the Youngstown Police and Fire Departments was a program hosted by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society at its Tyler History Center.

One of the first women to patrol the city’s streets when she was hired as a police officer in 1978, Centorame said she and other women often faced resistance from male colleagues who resented females joining their ranks.

Read more about the event and their stories in Sunday's Vindicator or on

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