Female law enforcement leaders -- including those from Pingree Grove, Aurora, Winfield and Hawthorn Woods -- were honored by Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka as part of Women's History Month.
Approximately 25 female police chiefs and deputy chiefs -- all the ones Topinka's office could identify in Illinois -- were invited to the ceremony on Monday, said Topinka spokesman Bradley Hahn.
"These women have broken through countless barriers to enter law enforcement," said Topinka, the first woman in Illinois history to serve in two constitutional state offices. Topinka is a former state treasurer.
"They have risen to the highest ranks of their departments, and in the process showed women and girls everywhere that anything is possible if they work at it," she said in a news release.
Twelve women were honored at the ceremony, including Pingree Grove Police Chief Carol Lussky, Western Springs Police Chief Pamela K. Church, Winfield Police Chief Stacy Reever, Hawthorn Woods Police Chief Jennifer R. Paulus, Aurora Police Cmdr. Kristen Ziman, Roscoe Police Chief Jamie Noreen Evans, Evanston Deputy Chief Aretha Hartley Barnes, University of Chicago Assistant Police Chief Gloria S. Graham, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Police Chief Kaye C. Heidenreich, LaGrange Police Lt. Renee Strasser, Richton Park Police Chief Elvia Pearl Williams, Cook County Sheriff's Office First Deputy Chief Dana R. Wright, and five cadets from Rickover Naval Academy in Chicago.
Topinka highlighted obstacles that stand in the way of women in law enforcement, from a male-dominated culture to physical examinations and uniforms created with men in mind, the release said.
"You are trailblazers, and you make us all proud," Topinka said.
The ceremony took place in the concourse of the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, the same building where Topinka's office is located.