THE BLADE/SEAN WORK Enlarge | Buy This Photo
In 1976, Cynthia Bobash joined the Toledo Police Department as one of its first female police officers and recently retired as its longest-serving female officer.
The captain, whose most recent assignment was in the vice/narcotics unit, said of her 34 years on the force, "It's been a lot of good times."
In her academy class, Captain Bobash was one of 11 female recruits. Hers was the second class to even have women -- the first was in 1973.
"If somebody would have told me, in 1977, that I'd still be here in 2011, I'd go, 'Really?' " the captain said.
Captain Bobash, 58, a Toledo native, graduated from Central Catholic High School and from Bowling Green State University, where she studied elementary education.
For three years after graduation, she worked at a Catholic elementary school before she decided it was time to move on.
Looking for employment, she saw that the city was offering the police test and decided to apply.
"Back in the '70s, you just really didn't have that many female police officers," Captain Bobash said. "I was a tomboy, and I wanted to be all that kind of stuff, but that wasn't open to you."
When she officially hit the streets, she was part of a three-person crew.
She worked East Toledo's streets with Officers Dave Mullen and Bob Case, who "referred to me as the runt of the litter because I was the smallest on the shift," the captain said.
"They really took me under their wings."
She said she owes her career to her first partners.
"They kept me safe," she said. "We got into tussles, but we all had each other's backs."
When she was first a patrolman, it was rare for the male officers to say anything negative about her or other female officers, she said.
Occasionally someone would say the women were taking jobs away from men, but, with time, the negative comments disappeared.
And once, responding to a call for service, the captain and one of her partners walked into a house -- both dressed in their police uniforms -- and the resident asked if she was her partner's wife.
"We just kind of laughed," the captain said.
Through all her promotions, she worked in a number of different sections -- including the training academy, community services, and vice.
"I wish I would have gotten into vice earlier," the captain said. "It's fascinating. I didn't go out a lot with them, but it's just fascinating work and just seeing how hard they work."
Now that the captain, who lives in Perrysburg, is retired, she'll keep busy staying up on college sports.
She's a big fan of Bowling Green's women's basketball team -- she's a season ticket holder.
She'll spend some time at Ohio State basketball and football games too.
The trips to Columbus are the perfect excuse to visit her only daughter, she said.
But after 34 years, a job like hers isn't one that's easy to walk away from.
She'll miss the people -- from the department and the citizens she met while on patrol, the people she met in happy times, and even those she met in sad times.
The department will miss her, too, Chief Derrick Diggs said,.
"She performed her duties well," the chief said. "She was a good police officer. She will be missed."