Roy and Noreen Skagen

T he first two women to be accepted to the National Academy were in Session 91 (1972). It wasn’t long afterwards that the designation of first “married National Academy graduates” was achieved. Jim Cotter , former Agent in Charge of the National Academy, gave that designation to Seattle Police Department’s Roy Skagen #92 (1972) and Noreen Skagen #96 (1974). Sadly, Noreen Skagen passed away on August 25th, 2017. Information for this article came from phone conversations with Roy and news clippings he provided along with the memories of two of their children who were also in law enforcement. The story of their careers and marriage is interesting. It was not a first marriage for either of them and both had children. Their careers were notable individually and together they were a formidable couple. Roy served as a Marine Corps officer (and attended officer training in Quantico) and still holds the record for the shortest time rising through the ranks of the Seattle Police Department. He was only 34 when he became the assistant chief of police after serving as Crimes Against Persons Division Major. He was first nominated to attend the National Academy in 1969 when he was a sergeant. Unfortunately, it was a tumultuous time in SPD history with the agency being investigated for corruption by the U.S. Attorney. There was a grand jury investigation and coincidental top to bottom organizational study by the IACP. As a matter of policy, the Bureau would not accept candidates from any agency under federal investigation, so his attendance was put on hold from 1969 until 1972. Roy was put into critical positions within the agency and rose from sergeant to captain. He was accepted for the NA in 1972, which was still difficult for the agency because he was relied on by several interim police chiefs to command the Department’s most complex and sensi- tive operations and investigations. His session (#92) was the first one in the newly constructed Quantico Academy, so he viewed it as a return to his Marine Corps alma mater. Roy retired in 1992 after 30 years with SPD and continued to be a strong support for his wife who served in several different law enforcement roles as well as volunteering with the community. Noreen was a sergeant when she attended the NA in 1974 when most attendees were at least lieutenants. According to a comment made to Roy by Jim Cotter, her scores were not only the highest in her class, they were the highest he had ever seen. Her journey into law enforcement was not as straightforward as Roy’s. Noreen majored in journalism at the University of Washington. She married and began her career as a writer. Late in the 1950’s with her marriage failing and two sons to support, she applied to the Seattle Police Department, primarily because of the salary it offered. In those early years her title was police- woman, with responsibilities related to children at risk instead of being assigned to a traditional patrol beat. Throughout her

very distinguished career, she managed to combine her deep compassion with a tough approach to doing the right thing, especially as it related to abused youth. It wasn’t uncommon for Noreen to chase down runaway teenagers in dangerous parts of town where police were not welcome. During Noreen’s career, she served in many roles. Her talents with Seattle PD were finally acknowledged and rewarded with her promotion as SPD’s first female Assistant Chief. Her achievements came to the attention of President Ronald Reagan. She was nominated and confirmed in 1988 by the Senate as the first female U.S. Marshal for Western Washington She served in that position for five years. She vol- unteered to serve on the Mill Creek Police Advisory Board and in 2000 was asked to act as the interim police chief for the agency. How did these two come together? Roy said that he had a tough time getting Noreen to agree to date him. She was very strict about mixing the personal with the professional. He finally used a ruse to get her to meet him for coffee across the street from the police department. At that time, he was a sergeant and Noreen was a detective. Roy had been attracted by the same quality that everyone else had noticed: an insistence on devoting her energies to improving other people’s lives with little concern about her own advancement. Noreen was a tough sell... she was seven years older than Roy and thought that would be a problem. Roy’s response was “When I am 80, what difference will it make?” Roy reflected on the sad irony that he was, in fact, 80 years old when she died. Roy’s persistence was rewarded in 1969 when the two were married. Although both brought children into the marriage, it was Noreen’s two sons, Clark and Scott Kimerer, who lived with them and later went into police work. The Skagens were happily married for 48 years. They were proud of their children’s achievements and enjoyed the blessings of their five grandsons from the Kimerer side and 6 granddaughters on the Skagen side. According to son Clark, “ They were never assigned to the same bureau after they married. The Department was pretty scrupulous about not assigning personnel who were married – or even in relationships, to the extent they were acknowledged or admitted – to the same unit, section or bureau. When Mom and

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