Patricia Beauchamp, 55, first woman appointed to Baltimore police command

September 11, 2000|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Patricia McGlauflin Mullen Beauchamp, a retired Baltimore police colonel, died of leukemia Friday at her Abingdon home. She was 55.

Mrs. Beauchamp was the first woman appointed to the Baltimore Police Department's command staff. She was instrumental in developing policies that made the agency more sensitive to adults and children who were victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Mrs. Beauchamp joined the department as a civilian employee in 1963. After seven years as chief of the community services bureau, she retired as a colonel in 1994.

From 1998 until her death, she was assistant director of security at the Johns Hopkins University.

Born Patricia McGlauflin in McKees Rocks, Pa., she moved to Baltimore in 1962. After graduating from Forest Park High School in 1963, she joined the department as a clerk in the youth section.

She graduated from the police academy in 1967 and later that year became a detective assigned to the vice squad. In 1976, Mrs. Beauchamp was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division, where she was placed in charge of two homicide investigative squads and the career criminal and sex offense units.

In 1978, Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau promoted her to major and gave her command of the youth division, making her the highest-ranking woman in the department's history. In that position, she was responsible for directing and coordinating investigations of child homicide, and physical and sexual child abuse.

"She was very proud of that," said Martin Beauchamp, her husband of three years who retired as a captain in the Baltimore Police Department. "There was a lot of resistance to women in a man's job," he said. "She broke that ceiling, and others followed."

It wasn't always easy being a pioneer in a department with few female officers, Mrs. Beauchamp said in a 1986 Evening Sun article. At first, her supervisor in the vice squad would not let her make arrests and ordered her to remain in the office during dangerous operations. "My father always told me I could do whatever I wanted to do," she said in the Evening Sun article. "When I graduated from the [police] academy, the personnel director asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to become the first woman captain."

In her last assignment as chief of the Community Services Bureau, Mrs. Beauchamp oversaw the youth, community relations, property and laboratory divisions.

She also was given oversight of the department's response to victims of domestic violence and worked with then-City Councilwoman Barbara A. Mikulski to improve police sensitivity to adults and children who were victims of sexual and domestic assaults. They developed training programs and procedures that changed the way officers interviewed victims, to avoid intimidation. Police were told to think of befriending the victims instead of grilling them, Mr. Beauchamp said.

Mrs. Beauchamp earned an associate of arts degree in police administration from Catonsville Community College in the 1970s and enrolled in the Johns Hopkins University Police Executive Leadership Program, a master's degree program, two years ago.

A member of dozens of boards and organizations over the years, she also volunteered annually at the Shriners' Circus in Timonium, which benefits the Shriners Hospitals for disabled children.

"She was a very caring person, a very devoted person," Mr. Beauchamp said. "Children were her primary focus - children and domestic tranquility."

Mrs. Beauchamp had been an avid scuba diver and skier, and in recent years enjoyed camping.

She married Calvin Felthouse in 1964. They divorced in 1969. Her marriage in 1971 to Ronald J. Mullen ended in divorce in 1983.

A memorial service is being planned.

Mrs. Beauchamp is also survived by a daughter, Tracy Miller of Virginia Beach, Va.; and two grandchildren.

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