In 1984, Sylvia Bailey (formerly with Albemarle County Police and the regional coordinator of the IAWP for Virginia) organized a regional seminar in Charlottesville, Va. in hopes of organizing an association. 15 people attended the seminar.
In the fall of 1987 a group of determined women led by Marie Chiarizia, Virginia Beach Police organized a meeting to solicit interest in theÂ area for the organization. With the help of Sandi Baum, Virginia Beach Police, Shirley O'Toole and Kay Lewis, Chesapeake Police, Polly Carter, Norfolk Police, and Sharon Kelly, FBI, the dream became reality in 1988.
The first conference was held in Virginia Beach under the name of the IAWP Region 3 and was hosted by the Virginia Beach Police and the Chesapeake Police. The 1987 conference theme was "Officer Survival". Much to their surprise 130 people attended the first conference.
The name initially chosen for the organization was "The Mid-Atlantic Association of Women Police". Elections were held and the first Official Board of Directors was established. The First Board of Directors consisted of Marie Chiarizia, Virginia Beach Police, President, Fannie Johnson-Featherstone, Washington D.C. Metro Police, Vice President, Sharon Kelly, FBI, Treasurer, and Sylvia Bailey, Albemarle County Police, Secretary.
The purpose was to foster professional and personal relationships with women in the Mid-Atlantic region and provide up-to-date training and promote law enforcement as a profession. A newsletter was written and a membership drive was announced. The first membership consisted of 25 members.
The Washington, D.C.Metro Police Department, hosted the 2nd Annual Conference in 1988. The conference theme was "Broadening Our Horizons". Fannie Johnson- Featherstone was responsible for designing the Mid-Atlantic Association logo and the membership adopted it at this conference. The name of the organization was changed to "Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement" so that it would be more inviting to all women in the many fields of law enforcement, not just police. The By-Laws were officially adopted.
"Accepting the Challenge" was the theme of the 1989 conference hosted by the Wilmington Police Department in Wilmington, Delaware. The summer of 1989 MAAWLE was incorporated as a non-profit organization. In the fall of 1989 President Chiarizia applied for and received affiliation with the IAWP. Committees for the organization were formed this year. Rita Crowley made the organizations first flag as a decoration for the hospitality room. The flag was adopted and voted on by the membership as the official flag of MAAWLE. This flag was later designed professionally and the old flag was retired. This year was also the when the first "Officer of the Year" was awarded.
In 1990, the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore County Police hosted the 4th Annual Conference in Baltimore, Md. entitled "We're On The Move".
"On The Way Up" was the conference theme for 1991, hosted in Portsmouth, Virginia.
New Castle County Police Department from Delaware hosted "Policing in the 21st Century" in 1992.
"Dare to Excel" was hosted by the Richmond Police Department in Richmond, Va. in 1993.
In 1994, there was a one day business meeting only in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The Chesapeake Police Department from Chesapeake, Va. hosted the 1995, "Stress and Survival" conference.
The 1996 conference was hosted by the Delaware State Police. "High Tech Crime of the 90's" was the theme chosen
The 1997 conference was held in Ocean City, Maryland. The Maryland State Police and the Baltimore County Police Department co-hosted the 11th Annual Conference entitled "A Decade of Excellence".
The University of Virginia Police Department and the Virginia State Police teamed up to host the 12th Annual Conference in Charlottesville, Va. "To New Horizons" was the conference theme for 1998. This conference marked a milestone with over 200 hundred attendees.
In 1999, the Baltimore Police Department hosted the conference.
Maryland Transportation Authority hosted the 2000 Annual Conference in Rocky Gap, Maryland on April 30-May 3,2000. The conference theme was "Small Steps to NO BOUNDARIES".
Virginia Beach Police Department hosted the 15th Annual MAAWLE Conference in Virginia Beach, Va. April 17-20, 2001. "Wave of the Future" was a huge success!
The Maryland State Police and the Ocean City Police Department hosted the 2002 MAAWLE 16th Annual Conference in Ocean City, Maryland, April 22-26, 2002. At this conference we recognized the heroes of September 11, 2001 and Captain Kathleen Mazza, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department
The 17th Annual MAAWLE Training Conference was held at Solomon Island by St. Mary's Sheriff's Office, Calvert County Sheriff's Office and Charles City Sheriff's Office.
May 2-5, 2004 the 18th Annual MAAWLE Conference was held in Annapolis, MD. "Keeping Dreams Alive" was the theme. The host speaker for the Awards Banquet was Chief Polly Hanson of the Metro Transit Police Dept in Washington, D.C.
The 2005 Conference was once again hosted by Washington DC. The theme of this conference was Gateway to the Future. The conference attendees were treated with the great hospitality and friendliness that we have come to expect from our DC membership.
A medley of officers from Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania led by Chief Diane Sorantino of Cape May, New Jersey and Lieutenant Alice Bailey of Delaware State Police hosted the 20th annual conference in Rehoboth, Delaware in April of 2006. The conference recognized the 20th anniversary of MAAWLE and the founders and past executive board were honored at a reception hosted at the Delaware River and Bay Authority Lewes Ferry Terminal.
The Montgomery County Police Department and the Maryland Park Police hosted the 2007 conference. The theme of this conference was Overcoming Obstacles; The Leadership Challenge. This conference really set the theme for the development of the wonderful relationship between the National Law Enforcement Memorial and MAAWLE.
In 2008 MAAWLE was very pleased to have the first ever conference hosted by the New Jersey State Police. The excellent training opportunities and partnership with NJSP will continue to help MAAWLE well into the future. Janine Driver was the headline event and her presentation was a big success.