Bartz, who served as master of ceremonies, assisted by Sgt. Louise
"Doris is leaving us after 30 years, several of them as sergeant.
I don't have the numbers but it's been a LONG time."
Higgins, still Doris Weaver at the time, was promoted to sergeant
on July 19, 1982. Wednesday was her last day in the office of traffic
The respect Higgins has earned is a far cry from her early days in
law enforcement when she, Laguna Police Captain Danell Adams and
Orange County Sheriff's Office Lt. Linda Spreine were known as
Laguna's "Broad Squad." They were the only three women in the
department, the first four ever.
"You, my wife and Danell made a big difference," said Police Chief
James Spreine, who presented Higgins with her retirement badge. "You
broke the glass ceiling.
Higgins, Spreine and Adams were not allowed to be on the same
shift until the late Sgt. Vic Sagan agreed to take them on the
"There was no such thing as sexual harassment in those days for
women who truly believed in a career in law enforcement," Higgins
said. "If you were only in it for the salary, of course you could
have sued; but if you did you would have forever been blackballed
from the profession. So you buttoned up and took it."
Part of what the "Broad Squad" buttoned up were uniforms designed
specifically for males, who bulge in different places than women. And
they buttoned them up in the restroom because there were no
accommodations for female officers.
Higgins began her career in law enforcement before the days when
women were readily accepted and over the objections of her family.
"My father was an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department and
he did not encourage me to follow in his footsteps," Higgins said.
"He did not support me and my mother was livid when I chose this
Higgins was hired by the Laguna department in 1970 as a
dispatcher, clerk and matron -- a jail attendant for women -- at a
salary of $493 a month.
She left Laguna in 1972 for a job in Cypress, but returned here in
1974, hired as a parking control officer, a position she held for
just more than a year.