Ana Leon Guerrero Sablan (1910 – 2003) was Guam’s first CHamoru policewoman. She enlisted in 1946 and served for 29 years, climbing the ranks from her start as a Police Matron to Sergeant at the time of her retirement in 1975.

Her trailblazing record of public service went on to become a source of inspiration and encouragement for other women to follow in her footsteps at the Guam Police Department, and to forge their own path in male-dominated fields.

Sablan was born in Hagåtña on 30 July 1910 to parents Maria Perez and Jose Tello Leon Guerrero from the village of Mongmong-To’to-Maite’.

Sablan was married to Segundo Flores Sablan, and they had eight children together. After her husband’s death during World War II, Sablan had to figure out how to raise their children alone. She joined the police force to support her family in 1946 — just two years after the return of US forces ended the Japanese occupation of Guam. During this time, the Guam police force was still controlled by the US Navy.

At the time of her enlistment, police work was widely regarded as a job only from men. In the police department, Sablan had to overcome constant sexism and pervasive, negative attitudes from her male colleagues in the police department.

 Her approach to police work was also unique, and she refused to carry her department issued gun and handcuffs while she was on duty. She was respected and still seen as a figure of authority because of her stature and strength. 

As a police officer, Sablan made an effort to resolve conflicts without the use of physical force, and championed non-violent solutions.

 Sablan’s daughters remember that their mother was often called in the middle of the night to process women who were arrested. Because she didn’t drive, police staff would come to pick her up at her home.

Over the course of her decades-long career, Sablan served as a guard at the Ordot Prison, and went on to head the Agana Headquarters Female Confinement Unit, and then the Fingerprinting and Processing Unit. At her final assignment before her retirement, Sablan served as the head of Civilian ID cards and the Police Records Unit.

Sablan was honored with commendation letters that highlighted her dedicated work for the police department, including for her work at the Hagåtña lock-up and in the records and identification section. She received the Maga’låhi Guåhan Award of Distinction, and numerous other commendations for her lifetime of service.

Sablan was also a devoted Catholic who is remembered by her family for loudly singing at the nobena. Sablan died on 23 November 2003 at the age of 93. 

For further reading

Guam Legislature. Relative to Expressing the Sorrow of the People of Guam upon the Passing of a Dear Friend of Guam, the Late Ana Leon Guerrero Sablan… Resolution No. 98 (LS). 3 December 2003.

Ngirairikl, Oyaol. “Guam’s First Policewoman Dead at 93.” Guam Pacific Daily News. 6 December 2003.