Pa. County’s First Female Detective Retires
BEAVER COUNTY TIMES
BEAVER, Pa. (AP) – It’s been more than 30 years since Kim Clements began a career in law enforcement.
The three decades have brought about a lot of change, not only in how police work is conducted, but in the role of women in police work.
A Beaver County detective for the majority of her career, Clements, who retired this month, said she was the first female detective in the county when she was hired in 1979.
Clements, 55, said she didn’t seek out a career in law enforcement. “It kind of found me,” she said.
Adding a woman to the detective roster came about when the women’s center began to take a more active role and asked the then-district attorney to hire a woman to act as a sort of liaison between victims and law enforcement.
Clements said she knew a lot of people in law enforcement because she worked in security for JC Penney, and she was approached about applying for the position.
“I got the job because I was a woman, but I kept it because I was good,” Clements said.
The first years weren’t easy.
Clements said many of the men working in the field during that time didn’t think it was necessary to have a woman on staff, and they held the notion that women “couldn’t keep secrets.” Her desk was placed in the hallway outside of the detective’s office.
“They tried to pay me less because I’m a woman,” she said.
“Over the years things have greatly changed,” Clements said. “There were a lot of good guys who saw the benefit of having a woman . . Chiefs would invite me on investigations.”
Berosh said Clements was “witness to the evolution” regarding how police work is conducted and the role of women in the profession.
Clements said she and now Center Township Police Chief Barry Kramer used to do undercover drug work in the days before there was a drug task force. Clements said police weren’t provided cars to do the work, so they would pull the car seats out of their own cars, cover their license plates with cardboard plates and set out to do their work.
Berosh said he can recall times when they borrowed his car. “That’s how they made the buys,” he said.
Never one to sit on the sidelines, no matter what, Berosh recalled a drug operation that Clements showed up to work when she was pregnant. He said he had to play the role of “cranky, old uncle” and tell her she was not going to go out into the field, but rather work the radios from the courthouse.
“I don’t think it went over very well,” Berosh said. “It shows how determined she was. She always wanted to be a part of things, no matter what her circumstances were.”
Clements helped to create programs that still exist today. She said she was part of forming the county’s first anti-drug task force, and the Missing Child Program.
Berosh said Clements was the person who developed the protocol for searches of a missing person as well as the reverse 911 call to make the community aware of a missing person. Over the years, Berosh said he’s gotten calls from officials in other counties inquiring about how to set up a similar program.
Clements has also been instrumental in creating the Beaver County Anti- Human Trafficking Response Team.
Clements said she won’t miss situations where she can’t solve the case. “That’s frustrating. You feel it in your heart, and you know the answer, and you can’t get there to prove it,” she said.
Clements said she has always felt a sense of personal responsibility to the victims she has worked with.