Hiring and retaining more women provides numerous important advantages to law enforcement agencies. Research conducted in the United States and internationally has clearly documented the following facts: (1) female officers are less likely to use excessive force; and (2) more female officers will improve law enforcement's response to violence against women. Although a number of studies document police officers' and community members' concern that women are not strong enough or aggressive enough for police work, physical strength has not been shown to predict general police effectiveness or ability to handle dangerous situations successfully. Research and practical experience alike provide every reason to believe that hiring and retaining more women in law enforcement will yield benefits not only to women within the police profession, but also to their male counterparts, the larger police organization, and the communities in which they serve. .
The Kitchen Is Closed.
The Hiring and Retention of Women in Law Enforcement.
"A man's got to do what a man's got to do. A woman must do what he can't." – Rhonda Hansome.
The Indianapolis Police Department made history in 1968 the day it hired the first two women to be assigned as patrol officers (Schulz, 1995). Since that time, there has been an increase not only in the number of females entering the field of law enforcement, but also in their impact on modern policing. Only 12.7% of all sworn law enforcement positions in large agencies were held by women in 2001. Within smaller more rural agencies, the percentage of females officers dropped to 8.1% (National Center for Women and Policing, 2001), and within federal agencies, the number was found to be only slightly above 14% (Reaves & Hart, 2001). Although within large agencies, women have gained an average of approximately half a percentage point per year from 1972 to 1999, there is growing evidence that this trend has now slowed and even reversed.