Los Angeles: We regret to announce the death of retired Deputy Chief Margaret A. “Peggy” York, Serial No. 14095, who passed away Sunday, October 17, 2021, in Los Angeles, California.
Deputy Chief York was born August 4, 1941 in Canton, Ohio. She was appointed to the Department in 1965 as a Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) and worked this assignment until 1968 when she entered the police academy.
Deputy Chief York was appointed as a Policewoman on April 22, 1968. She began her career during a time when women were only allowed to work certain assignments and did not have pay or benefit parity with their male counterparts. Yet, she persevered and helped pioneer a path for women to ascend to ranks within the Department that were previously unattainable. During her tenure, she worked a variety of assignments as an investigator (most notably as one-half of an all-female homicide investigation team which was the inspiration for the 1980s television show, Cagney and Lacey) and went on to become a Supervisor, Lieutenant, Captain and Commander, culminating her career as the first female Deputy Chief of the Department.
Deputy Chief York retired on November 17, 2002 and was last assigned to Operations-Central Bureau. The next chapter of her career began in 2003 when she was appointed the Chief of Police for the Los Angeles County Police, which provided law enforcement and security services for all Los Angeles County hospitals, parks and buildings. She remained active throughout the remainder of her life, working as a consultant for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, founding the Margaret York Company (a consulting and investigations firm) where she served as the President and CEO. Additionally, she contributed her vast knowledge, expertise and kindness to several advisory boards, charities and causes.
Chief Michel Moore said, “Deputy Chief Margaret ‘Peggy’ York was a consummate professional. She joined policing at a time when women were faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. As a pioneer, she demonstrated true grit and utilized her talents to ascend to the highest ranks within the Department. Along the way, she touched many lives and it was truly an honor to have worked alongside such a humble leader. Her tenacity and spirit continue to inspire future generations of women joining our ranks.”
This trailblazing woman will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her, as well as those who have reaped the benefit of the seeds she sowed for the advancement and equitable treatment of women on this Department.
Statement from Los Angeles Police Women Police Officers and Associates (LAWPOA) Organization President, Commander Ruby Flores:
Deputy Chief Margaret “Peggy” York was an inspiration to countless women, a person who was not afraid to challenge conventional roles for women in law enforcement. She was a true trailblazer. The law enforcement community is poorer without her intellect, her wisdom and her generosity. Chief York persevered through harsh and unfair criticism and ascended through the ranks of the Department, ultimately being appointed the Department’s first female Deputy Chief. She connected with people, cared about the community and her fellow officers. We lost a titan of a woman, but her legacy and contribution towards the advancement of women on the LAPD will live on.
Throughout my career, I have drawn inspiration from many people. None more so than retired Deputy Chief Margaret York, whom I and others knew professionally as Peggy. Deputy Chief York began her career on this Department during a time when women were disrespected and subjugated by their male counterparts.
I was fortunate enough to have worked for Deputy Chief York as well as sit alongside her after her retirement during professional development panels. To hear her recount her experiences as a woman on the Department before, during and after federal consent decrees and policies prohibiting sexual harassment and discrimination were in place, were both daunting and humbling. Her resolve and courage to push forward in a hyper-masculine culture within the Department and emerge triumphantly was and is empowering to not only myself but all women who now walk the path she and many other brave women of the time forged for us. Godspeed, Sister. I feel privileged to have known her, listened to her and worked with her. You will be greatly missed.