Helen Crawford: Retired Law Enforcement Trailblazer Turns 99 - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/12/07

Helen Crawford: Retired Law Enforcement Trailblazer Turns 99

At 99 years old, Helen Crawford has spent most of her life in law enforcement.

"It's so long ago, I have a hard time remembering it," says Crawford.

She was only 26 when she started her career with the U.S. Marshal's Office, working her way up the ranks and taking on a major leadership role during World War II.

Current U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Texas John Moore says, "She had to pick up the law and run with it when a lot of the men were called to service."

But if you ask her, Helen will tell you she was just doing her job.

"I'd been doing it ever since I went there, and they were anxious to get off to war. So I just gathered up some women, and we made it," says Crawford.

She was only the second woman to be appointed as a Chief Deputy in Texas, serving in the department until 1970.

"She accomplished all these things way before people really appreciated what the ladies could bring to law enforcement," says Moore.

Even after retiring, Helen couldn't stay away from law enforcement spending several years with the Smith County Sheriff's Department.

Longtime caregiver Frances Layne says, "She was the darling of all the deputies that worked for Harlan at the time. They all adopted her, and she adopted them."

Today, Helen was honored with several awards for her many years of service; something you could tell she wasn't expecting.

"You'd think people would forget things like that as old as I am and as long ago as it's been," says Crawford.

But they haven't forgotten, and they probably never will.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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