California deputy who
led women's fight for patrol duty
[Sacramento County, CA]

Steve Gibson Bee Staff Writer
December 30, 2000, Saturday Metro Final Edition
Copyright 2000 Mcclatchy Newspapers, Inc.
Sacramento Bee
December 30, 2000, Saturday Metro Final Edition

(SCARAMENTO COUNTY, Calif.) -- Judith Ebert, who fought to get more female deputies assigned to patrol in an era when the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department reserved that job for males, died Thursday of complications from cancer. She was 58.

In the late 1970s, Mrs. Ebert organized other female deputies to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sexual discrimination.

"She led us in that," said sheriff's Lt. Diane Round, who was a rookie deputy with Mrs. Ebert. "She led us to that hearing and she testified. She was a pioneer."

In those days, Round recalled, "the men and the women went to the same training academy, but when we graduated, the men went to patrol training and we went to the jails. It wasn't fair."

Along with most of her female colleagues, Mrs. Ebert eventually was assigned to the patrol division and for years worked a patrol car in North Highlands and Rio Linda.

"She was an excellent officer, very dedicated," Round said.

During nearly 26 years as a deputy, Mrs. Ebert worked a variety of assignments, including the branch jail, main jail and courthouse security, in addition to patrol. Her last assignment before retiring in January was Juvenile Court.

Born in Sacramento to the former Margaret Lockwood and Harvey Jones, she was a 1960 graduate of the now-closed Norte del Rio High School in Grant Joint Union High School District.

According to her family, she became interested in a law enforcement career while residing in the East Bay area with her first husband, Norman Cook, and their two children. It was there that she got a job looking for shoplifters in large retail stores and working undercover at businesses for a private investigator, said one of her daughters, Deanna Lyman.

Mrs. Ebert did so well that her boss encouraged her to take community college classes in criminal justice, which she did, her daughter said.

The family moved back to Sacramento in 1974, and a few months later Mrs. Ebert was hired by the Sheriff's Department.

She was known for her upbeat personality and loyalty. "When she became your friend, she was your friend for life," said Sue Salfhom, a friend and former deputy.

Among other things, Mrs. Ebert was remembered for organizing female deputies into a cheerleading squad for the 1976 Pig Bowl, an annual football game between the Sacramento Police and Sheriff's departments.

"She said, 'If the guys can be out on the field playing, we can be on the sidelines cheering them on,'" Round said. "She talked me into it. That's the kind of person she was."

Survivors include her husband, Ron Ebert of Granite Bay; daughters, Deanna Lyman of Loomis and Donna Tryon of Antelope; stepdaughter, Jennifer Ebert of Fair Oaks; stepson, Ryan Ebert of Granite Bay; and four grandchildren.

Instead of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento, 2000 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, CA 95821.

A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Friday in New Life Church, 8180 Sunset Ave., Fair Oaks.

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