A special photo exhibit showcasing the life of the woman believed to be Orange County’s first female law enforcement officer is on display in the lobby of the Old Orange County Courthouse.
Alice Chandler, 93, was 21 when she was invited to interview with then-Sheriff James Musick because of her reputation as a fine horsewoman.
An hour later, Musick handed Chandler a badge and told her mother to purchase a handgun for her daughter.
Alice’s mother purchased a 6-inch barrel S&W .32 caliber revolver for Alice, so she could perform her volunteer job as a deputy.
Chandler’s job was to keep trespassers away from Peter’s Lake, a popular duck hunting and fishing spot situated on James Irvine’s private property.
But being a sheriff’s deputy was only one of Chandler’s numerous and diverse achievements.
The exhibit also chronicles her job as an Irvine Ranch cowgirl, riding instructor, trick rider, dog breeder, airplane pilot, horse trainer, riding instructor, dog breeder, missionary, movie extra, and model.
The Old Orange County Courthouse is at 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana. The exhibit is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.