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Ceres’ first female officer, Allita Algeo dies
Allita Algeo
Allita Algeo, seen here at the 2015 Ceres Street Faire, died Sunday. She was Ceres Police Department's first female officer. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

Allita Algeo, who in the 1970s was reportedly the first female police officer hired by Ceres Police Department, died on Sunday at home following a short bout with lung cancer.

Algeo was also very civic minded and a long-time member and officer of the Ceres Women’s Club, serving as its president and organizing a number of its fundraisers, such as boutiques. She also served as an officer of the Modesto chapter of Women of the Moose.

“She was a best mother ever – and to a lot of kids, not just us,” said Stacey Julian, one of her two surviving sons. He said he entered the law enforcement profession because her mom’s career allowed him to experience CPD as extended family. “She was caring, giving to a fault.”

As a single mother of four small boys in 1971, Alego – then named Allita Skar – made the decision to join the law enforcement profession and become her department’s first female officer at a time when women officers were rare.

Mrs. Alego also was a police dispatcher when she became the department’s first female reserve police officer.

“She was actually going out on patrol as the first female police officer (in Ceres),” said Julian. “Because of a medical condition – she learned that she had lupus, and the kind that reacts to sunlight – she went back into dispatching. She bounced around inside the department and then she became investigator’s aid and being the senior clerk and doing records training. I think she supervised all the dispatchers and clerks.”

Inside the department she was a key support person to a number of superiors over the years, including Police Chiefs Leroy Cunningham and Pete Peterson, and sergeants Hollie Hall, Gene Fowler and John Chapman.

Algeo also was a long time dispatch and records supervisor. She was 

After she was hired into the police department, she was also accepted into officer candidate school for the U.S. Army but she decided to stay local since she had four boys in tow.

She retired about 20 years ago.

Allita was born in White Horse in Modoc County and grew up in McCloud in Siskiyou County.

The death of two of her sons took an emotional toll on her as she was fighting cancer and other medical conditions. Ricky Gilpatrick died on February 14, 2021 and Jimmy “James” Gilpatrick last month on Jan. 14.

A funeral service is not expected to take place in accordance with her wishes.