Women's History

Womens History graphic

The City of Jackson honors trailblazing women from our past and present. This page highlights women who have made an impact in public safety, City government, the Jackson community, and nation. 

Women in City Government

To celebrate the Women's History Month in March 2023, the City of Jackson assembled women currently making history in City government for a group photo. Thanks for all you for for our community. 

Women in Gov photo

Pioneers in Public Safety 

March 2021: Female officers of the Jackson Police Department 

Since hiring its first female officer in 1947, JPD has had dozens of female officers serve on the police force and have made a difference in how the department serves the Jackson community. In March 2021, there were six sworn female officers working for JPD. They are (left to right) Officer Madison Mulder, Officer Rachel Kuhn, Officer Kellsie Baker, Sergeant Holly Rose, Officer Brandi Davis, and Officer Autumn Schram.

Jackson female officers

Annie Wallen

In 2019, Annie Wallen became the first female firefighter hired by the Jackson Fire Department. Firefighter Wallen is a Jackson native who served in the U.S. Marines and previously worked with the Columbia Township Fire Department before joining JFD. She was inspired to become a firefighter in the 2nd Grade when she took a tour of Jackson's Central Fire Station. 

Firefighter Annie Wallen

Mary Jo Kennedy 

Mary Jo Kennedy began her career at the Jackson Police Department in 1977, just as other women were joining the police force. She started as a cadet and graduated top of her class at the Jackson Community College Police Academy. She was promoted to patrol officer in 1980 and served as an evidence technician, hostage negotiator and field training officer. Mary was promoted to sergeant in 1989 and lieutenant in 2001, making her the first woman in the police department's command staff. She retired in 2007 after 30 years with the department and continued to work in criminal justice locally.


Karen Frampton 

"I'm a policewoman!" was the headline of the Jackson Citizen Patriot in March 1974 when Jackson Police Officer Karen Frampton was profiled in a story. Officer Frampton became the police department's first female patrol officer in 1974. This story talks about her experiences in the police force. She was certainly a trailblazer. Following Frampton's hiring, the police department hired three more female officers.

karen frampton

Charlotte Patchett

Charlotte Patchett was the Jackson Police Department's first female Patrol Sergeant and Detective! Before joining the police force, she served in the U.S. Army. Charlotte started as a parking meter checker in 1955 and worked her way up to become the department's first female sergeant and detective in the 1970s. She retired in 1983 and recently passed away. 


Ruth Collins 

In 1947, Ruth Collins became the first female in the Jackson Police Department to carry a gun, badge and have arrest powers. During this time, female officers largely dealt with crimes involving women and children in the community. Collins was a teacher at Hanover High School before becoming an officer and was a single working mother of four children.


Trailblazing women in the Jackson community and City government

Kelli Hoover & Bethany Smith

Ella Sharp 

Mayor Mary Bennett

Lucy Thurman

Vivian Kellogg

Mayor Betty Granger

Zelie Emerson

Mayor Karen Dunigan 

Elnora Moorman