Ida Lippman was a pioneer for women in criminal justice. She used her position as a woman to help other women retain their rights, and she was a role model and mentor to younger women wishing to work in law and order.
A Massachusetts native, Ida Lippman gained an interest in law while working at the New York State Reformatory for Women in Bedford Hills, New York. She divided her time at the Reformatory between work in the office and working with the detained girls. Lippman then took a position as a parole officer at Magdalen Home in Inwood, New York where she helped to establish a home for delinquent girls on parole from the New York State Reformatory.
At the start of WWI, Lippman moved to Washington, DC and spent nine months in Training Camp activities and with the Red Cross. In 1918 she was among the group of 50 women sent overseas to work with the Quartermaster Corps of the US Army in Tours, France. After the war, Lippman was recruited by the Detroit Police Department to assist the organization of the new Women’s Division. Ms. Lippman spent seven years with the Women’s Division supervising patrol and court work of all children up to 10, all girls up to 17, and all crimes involving women.
During this time Ada Lippman also attended law school at the University of Detroit and was admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1927. After having achieved the rank of sergeant, she left the Detroit Police Department to accept a position with the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. In 1930 she opened her own practice specializing in civil law. Lippman felt especially proud and accomplished as a lawyer because she knew she was helping other women maintain and retain their rights. In 1946 Lippman was the only woman recruited by the US Government to serve with a group of seven other police officers for executive police jobs in Seoul, Korea. She organized Korean policewomen into a division of the national police force.
Lippman was a member of numerous organizations and societies including the Michigan Bar Association, the Women Lawyers’ Association, the Detroit Federation of Business and Professional Women, the Council of Jewish Women, and was the past president of the Women’s Overseas Service League.
Ida Lippman’s efforts in Korea were praised by General Douglas McArthur, who said that ‘her initiative, tact, professional ability, and untiring efforts to solve the complex problems involved in the creation and operation of a Women’s Bureau of the National Police, have been an inspiration to all the personnel associated with her.’ Her pioneering spirit and groundbreaking work is now praised with her induction into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.