Fresno Calif. (KGPE) — The motto “protect and serve” is a true motivation for many who become peace officers. That includes the first woman to wear a badge in Fresno’s Police Department: Sergeant Victorya Blaswich.

“Do you take women?,” Blaswich recalled asking the sitting chief of police during a community meeting she attended in southwest Fresno.

It was a simple question that would forever change policing in the Central Valley.

Victorya Blaswich was known back then as Victorya Young.  Blaswich who was born in Madera would later move to Fresno. She was a concerned neighbor attending the community meeting at 2nd Baptist Church held by the Fresno Police department about a serial rapist in the area.

“Well, yes, we do” came the answer from then-Chief Hank Morton.

That night Blaswich, a longtime judo student said she would like to become a reserve officer for the Fresno Police Department. She wasn’t alone.

“A half dozen residents volunteered to be reserve officers,” Blaswich said during a recent sit down at her Fresno area home.

Blaswich would be the first and only woman. It is a reality that would come with its own challenges. She recalls having to fight crime in the early days carrying her service weapon in a purse. After a few difficult interactions with the public, she took it up with Chief Morton.

“I want to wear the same uniform that the men do,” Blaswich said.

“Do you mean to tell me you want to put a gun on your hip?,” Morton asked.

“Yes sir,” Blaswich responded.

Blaswich was fortunate. She had an uncle who was a tailor who eventually designed what would become the first uniform made for a female officer. After grabbing a gun from the armory, she went to the chief for the sign-off.

“He stood there with his mouth open” Blaswich said.

For several decades, Blaswich would continue working to keep local residents safe. She eventually became a sergeant with the Fresno Police Department – all the time never forgetting to tap into her humanity.

“Being a police officer isn’t all yelling and screaming and putting them down. I didn’t do that,” Blaswich said.

Years of dedicated service would ultimately lead to working as an investigator with the State of California. Despite being retired, Blaswich continues to keep herself busy – including an upcoming elevation into the sixth degree in judo.