When Janice Lowers joined the Burbank Police Department as a cadet in
1976, she never envisioned becoming a police officer.
She certainly never expected to make history.
On Monday, Lowers, 47, became the highest-ranking woman in the
department’s 92-year history when she was promoted to captain.
“I don’t like to think of it as being the first woman,” she said.
“I like to think of it just as someone who was promoted to captain
who just happens to be female.”
Dozens of police officers, friends and family members convened in
the department’s main conference room for a high-spirited ceremony in
which Lowers and four other officers were promoted. Police Chief
Thomas Hoefel, who hosted the event, echoed Lowers’ sentiments,
saying that ability, not gender, was the reason she was promoted.
“She is just tremendously competent and highly qualified for the
position,” Hoefel said. “She has a great blend of education,
experience, community involvement and personal characteristics that
make her an outstanding candidate, and I look forward to watching her
Hoefel, though, recognized Lowers’ promotion as a milestone
because the Burbank Police Department, like others across the
country, needs to increase diversity.
Deputy Chief Larry Koch, who has known Lowers since she was a
cadet, said he was proud of her accomplishment.
“There were no female officers when I started here in 1973,” Koch
said. “It shows a real change in the 30 years I’ve been here, now
that she is the first female promoted to captain.”
Of the department’s 168 officers, 10 are female, including six
patrol officers, two detectives and one lieutenant. Lowers will
oversee the Special Operations Division, which includes the animal
shelter, traffic and records bureaus, and the computer unit. Lowers,
a John Burroughs High School graduate, was attending Cal State
Northridge when she was encouraged to become a cadet by
then-Assistant Chief Bob Heins.
Lowers became an officer in 1977, and over the years worked in
such areas as the Juvenile Bureau and Community Outreach and
Personnel Services. She became a sergeant in 1991, and was promoted
to lieutenant in 1998.
Lowers, the mother of 16-year-old twins, was named Officer of the
Year in 1998 and received the Rex Andrew Memorial Police Scholarship
in 2000. She has also coached her children’s softball and basketball
teams, volunteered as the treasurer for Boy Scout Troop 210 and
served on the school district bond oversight committee.
But Lowers admits she wasn’t always interested in police work.
“When I first came on as a police cadet, my goal wasn’t to become
a police officer,” she said. “But this is a job that captivates the
imagination, and I soon grew to love it.”
Lowers said she still looks forward to getting up in the morning
and going to the office because, “I don’t know what the day will
Other officers promoted Monday were Flor Pagador to senior animal
control officer, Jerry Misquez to detective, Kevin Grandalski to
sergeant and Pat Lynch to lieutenant.