Cleveland’s First Mounted Policewoman

Cleveland’s first Mounted Policewoman was assigned to duty by Park Commissioner Fred S. Alber on May 27th, 1914. As reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Miss Pearl E. Kray, the daughter of Elyria’s longest serving Police Officer, will be on duty from 2 till 10PM near the municipal dance halls and give special attention to the districts in which the finest flower beds are located.”

Parks Commissioner Fred C. Alber stated that “Miss Kray may not have regular police powers, but she will make daily reports to this office and she will assist the police.” “The lilac bushes and magnolia trees have been stripped,” said the city forester. “Now they are getting after the bridal wreaths and azaleas. We have a lot of trouble with people in automobiles.” Refreshment stands had been broken into and cigars and soft drinks stolen.

Some of her experiences as detailed in her reports included “prevented three people from taking flowers from the bed near Superior-av N.E.; pursued man who had two dozen peonies in his arms; chased thirteen girls and women and one man out of flower beds; found a lost child on Edgewater-blvd and returned it to its mother; sent four rowdies out of Edgewater park at 9p.m.; received complaint from a two women that they had been insulted by a man.” She chased the peony thief out of the park and caught up with him on Hough avenue. Because she was not able to notify the police to make an arrest, she had to let him go. As a result, Public Safety Director Benesch offered to provide her with a police whistle.

In an interview published in the New York Times Miss. Kray said “I fancy, at first, I may suffer some annoyance from unthinking young men, who may not take my position as seriously as they should. However, I won’t permit them to cause me much trouble. What am I going to do to prevent it? Well you just wait and see. I’ll attend to that all right.”

Commissioner Alber had originally appointed Miss. Kray as a temporary laborer. When the Commissioner appointed her a full-time laborer, the Civil Service Commission refused to allow that appointment on June 8th. However, on June 26th, the Board of Control adopted a resolution placing her on the Park payroll as an Attendant. Her salary was set at $2.00 a day and she was awarded back pay to May 29th, 1914. On July 7th, 1914 Miss. Kray was advised by Park Commissioner Alber that he could no longer afford to pay her for her services.

Miss Kray married Alvin Sylvester of Cleveland in 1914 and she had three children. She moved to Los Angeles, California where she passed away on February 27, 1966.