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A peerless promotion

Jackson Bell

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.