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2011 Recipient of the Dr. Lois-Higgins Grote Heritage Award



Dr. Lois Higgins-Grote 
Heritage Award Recipient
Phyllis Nolan


The Heritage Award is an honor bestowed upon an individual member when warranted due to substantial and significant contributions to women police and the International Association of Women Police over a period of years and especially during milestones of the organization. The honor is meant to ensure the recording, recognition, and appreciation for outstanding and dedicated service to IAWP. The IAWP's Heritage recognition is the highest tribute given by the IAWP. This year’s recipient of the IAWP Heritage recognition is Superintendant Phyllis Nolan.

In the late 70’s, Phyllis Nolan was introduced to the IAWP through a friend from the International Police Association (IPA). At that time, the organization’s membership was mainly drawn from North America, which had 11 Regions. Region 12 represented the rest of the world. Nolan joined. In 1985, Nolan was selected as a finalist for the International Scholarship Award. What an honor this was! But when the Chair of the International Scholarship Committee advised Nolan’s department of the honor, the department would not support Nolan’s attendance at the conference which would be held in Alaska that year. Recognizing this opportunity, Nolan was not going to be dissuaded, so she arranged her own transportation to Alaska. She traveled to Alaska via St. Paul, Minnesota where she was graciously hosted by Carolen Bailey, then Chair of the International Scholarship Award Committee.

The Alaska training conference was a life changing experience for Nolan. Aside from global exposure to various styles in policing, training sessions were offered which were interesting and relevant to her style of policing in Ireland. While at this conference, she was also able to forge new friendships and international collaborations. She recognized and seized the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with other participants and she began to build a global network of resources.

Nolan returned to her homeland (Ireland) with a very positive perception of IAWP. A couple of years later, she was elected as the Regional Coordinator for Region 12—the world outside of North America. Still later, Nolan was elected to 2nd and then 1st Vice President. In total, she served on the Board from 1986—2000. Over this time and since, Nolan saw many changes not only in IAWP, but in Ireland. “Today women make up 24% of the Police Force. Only last month, a woman made history when she was appointed Deputy Commissioner, a position that is second in command of the police force, with responsibility for operational policing at a national level.

“My proudest experience with the IAWP was while serving as Vice President. I was the first person outside of North America to be elected an Officer of the Board. It wasn’t just my election, but that I had the opportunity to play a role in the growth of IAWP outside North America and the development initially of two Regions. That growth has continued to expand, making the organization truly International; thus providing opportunities to police women everywhere to enhance their opportunities” (Phyllis Nolan)
"During my term as IAWP President, Executive Director Angie Holt and I were blessed to have Superintendant Nolan serve as 2nd Vice-President. Superintendant Nolan was ever an advocate for our Board and the sometimes difficult decisions to be made, yet her true advocacy resided with what would be most beneficial to the membership as whole. The strength of her decision-making, along with her collaborative nature, served to make IAWP a healthy organization for the betterment of law enforcement world-wide. At a time when our international membership numbers were small, Superintendant Nolan consistently ensured our sisters in law enforcement around the world were remembered and attended to their needs” (Gale Buckner, Past President).

Perhaps the greatest asset Superintendant Nolan brought to the IAWP was that she came from a country on the western edge of Europe where as a member of a National Police Force, she brought a wider experience to IAWP, which at that time was mainly operating within the USA and Canada. She also was serving on the Permanent Executive Board of the International Police Association, with contacts in many parts of the world. These networks provided a wide platform for Superintendant Nolan to promote the IAWP.

What many people don’t know about Superintendant Nolan is that she was the first police woman in the Garda Siochana (National Police Force of Ireland) to gain Office rank on promotion to Superintendent; 30 years after the first Ban Gardai (women police) were trained. She is also the first woman to be elected to the International Board of the IPA, where she served for 12 years.

Superintendant Nolan is now retired from policing, but she continues her involvement with IPA at the local level as Chairman of the Dublin North Region and Manager of the Dublin IPA House. Superintendant Nolan also stays connected with her colleagues and friends at the IAWP.

“Superintendant Nolan has been a humble law enforcement leader who gratefully served Ireland in a law enforcement capacity and has been an advocate and mentor for all women in law enforcement” (Gale Buckner, Past President).

It is with great honor that this year we recognize Superintendant Nolan for her substantial and significant contributions to women police and the International Association of Women Police.




Disclaimer: The www.IAWP.org website has made a reasonable effort to provide for translation. However, no automated or computerized translation is perfect and these systems are not intended to replace human or traditional translation methods. The official text of the IAWP website is the English version of the IAWP.org website. If any questions arise concerning the accuracy of information presented by the translated version of the website, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.  Webmaster, September 2011.