Chief LaForgia grew up in the South Bronx to parents who emigrated from Bari, Italy. She attended Cathedral High School, Fordham University, The University of Richmond and St Thomas Aquinas. In 1980 LaForgia attended the 120th Session of the FBI National Academy graduating March 21, 1980.
She was the first woman to attain the rank of two-star chief and the first woman to be named borough commander in New York City Police history. Her service to the New York City Police Department has spanned 32 years.
She joined the N.Y.P.D. in 1966, beginning her career on patrol in the 24th precinct. At that time she states she worked mostly plain cloths, and undercover in and around Times Square area of New York City. In retrospect, she states, she was treated by male colleagues as auxiliary, someone just helping them out. In 1972, federal law mandated women could ride in radio cars and were assigned to precincts. This change angered male officers who felt the women were "taking spots that should be assigned to men". Despite the initial difficulty, she persevered and climbed the chain of command in the Department. She was promoted to Sergeant in 1968, Lieutenant in 1985, Captain in 1989 and Deputy Inspector in 1992. In 1995, she was appointed first female Assistant Chief and given the opportunity to form the new Patrol Borough, Queens North and become Borough Commander. During her service to the N.Y.P.D. she served in the 24TH, 26TH, 43RD, AND 46TH Precincts as well as Patrol Borough Manhattan North, the Police Academy, Patrol Borough Bronx and the Civilian Complaint Investigation Bureau. She served as Executive Officer in the 46th Precinct as well as the Police Academy's Testing Unit, Behavioral Science Unit and the Recruit Operation Unit. As Deputy Chief, she commanded the former Public Morals Division where she was charged with revitalizing this elite unit and guiding its transition into the new vice enforcement division. She helped to implement changes which allowed local Precincts to take on a larger role in the enforcement of underage prostitution offences.
The Policewoman's Endowment Association presented
it's first ever WOMAN OF THE YEAR award in 1994 to Chief LaForgia, the department's highest-ranking woman.
Chief LaForgia retired from the N.Y.P.D. in 1998.
In 1999, Chief LaForgia became the first woman to be nominated Police Commissioner of the Mount Vernon, N.Y. Police Department.
Most of the above information has been gleaned from the book Italian Americans In Law Enforcement Page 134 By Anne T. Romano