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Kline paved way for women on Hagerstown Police force

October 01, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- Margaret Kline doesn't think of herself as a pioneer, despite the fact she was the first woman to work uniform patrol with the Hagerstown Police Department 35 years ago.

"When I started in 1974, I was the first woman with arrest powers," Kline said.

Her career since that historic beginning led recently to her being honored as Woman of the Year by the Hagerstown Business and Professional Women's Club.

Kline, 53, said she was overwhelmed by the honor, which she feels is an acknowledgment of her body of work -- from working patrol to her current rank of lieutenant.

Over the years, Kline rose to shift commander. She has been director of the Western Maryland Police Academy since 2004 and is a professor at Hagerstown Community College.

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"I came on to the force at a very different time," Kline said. "I'm not sure women today are really as interested in law enforcement as they were then."

She bases her theory on the drop in the number of women attending the academy and fewer numbers who are applying for jobs with law enforcement agencies.

And that's a shame, Kline said, since the field has a lot of opportunities for women as well as men.

Kline has pared her teaching duties to the Western Maryland Police Academy and HCC, having given up her faculty position at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

Kline said she attended Hagerstown Junior College, so teaching there "is a natural for me." This year, she is teaching a course on police in the community.

After graduating from HJC, Kline earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Baltimore, her master's degree from Hood College in Frederick, Md., and completed a course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.

Though no longer on the streets, Kline is quite active in community policing.

At the recent BPW awards ceremony, Kline was surrounded by family, friends and colleagues. Letters were read from others unable to attend.

Kline will be further honored Oct. 23 at the Maryland State BPW conference in Rockville, Md., where governor's citations will be presented to BPW women of the year.

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