Oral history interview with Annette L. Spellen, 2016


Spellen, Annette (Interviewee)
Strong, Liz (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Annette L. Spellen, 2016
Annette Spellen describes growing up in Harlem, Bushwick, and Crown Heights, and changes that have affected the community there. She discusses in detail the struggles for women's equality and racial equality in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Two organizations that were particularly important in those struggles were the Policewomen's Endowment Association and the Guardians Association. She shares memories of the friends and mentors she had in the Guardians Association, as well as details about her work as an undercover officer and a detective with the NYPD Anti-Crime unit, Department of Investigations, and Hostage Negotiation Team
Collection Name
New York Police Department Guardians Oral History Collection
African American police--New York (State); Policewomen--New York (State); Hostage negotiations; Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) History; Spellen, Annette; NYPD Guardians Association; New York (N.Y.). Police Department History; New York (N.Y.). Department of Investigation
oral histories
Physical Description
80 pages
Note (Biographical)
Annette Spellen is a retired detective of the Anti-Crime unit and the Department of Investigations (DOI). She was born in Harlem, NY, in 1949, and moved to Brooklyn at a young age. She became a policewoman for New York City's 13th Precinct in 1969, wh ere she was able to work under some of the earliest ranking women in the NYPD. She was affected during the layoffs of 1975, but returned in 1978. She spent three years undercover, after which she was promoted to Detective. After her time in the Anti-Crime unit, she worked in white collar crime for the DOI, and then became part of the Department's Hostage Negotiation Team. She retired in 1993, but continued to actively volunteer for the NYPD Guardians Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and the Policewomen's Endowment Association, and others
Interviewed by Liz H. Strong on March 18, 2016
Note (Provenance)
Liz H. Strong, Gift, 2016
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Persistent URL
Related URLs
Available digital content for this interview.