While women do account for a small but growing segment of law enforcement across the country, the number still only sits at approximately 11.6 %. This is an increase of only 8% since the 1970s. The good news for women is that the need to hire more women into law enforcement has started to receive a significant amount of coverage. There are a number of benefits to significantly increasing the number of women behind the badge.
Woman Officers Are Not as Likely to Use Excessive Force
According to a recent article in The Atlantic, one of the two main reasons for the need to hire more female officers is that ” Women officers are less likely to use excessive force or pull their weapon. They are defendants in lawsuits far less often than men, saving municipalities millions in legal fees.” Something that has become more important than ever as police behavior has come under increasing scrutiny from both the public and the press.
Improved Community Relations Starts with Women Officers
According to a report published by the National Center for Women & Policing back in 2003, ” over the last 40 years, studies have shown that female officers are less authoritarian in their approach to policing, less reliant on physical force and are more effective communicators. Most importantly, female officers are better at defusing potentially violent confrontations before those encounters turn deadly.” This alone should be enough to increase the number of women officers across all levels of law enforcement.
Who Better Than Women Officer to Work with Violence Towards Women and Sex Crimes?
This is perhaps one of the most important areas of law enforcement where women officers may be able to make the biggest difference. For example, a woman who is the victim of a sexual assault is far more likely to talk to a female officer. But, unfortunately, in many departments, there simply aren’t enough female officers to go around, if there are any at all. Not only is this situation not going to help the victim, but in the long run, it does nothing to help the rest of law enforcement to complete our mission.
Why Aren’t There More Women in Law Enforcement?
There are any number of reasons why there are not enough women in law enforcement. They range from the unfortunate stereotypes all the way to recruitment and training programs that specifically target males.
No matter how you look at it, there has not been much of an effort to change recruiting efforts for decades, but the time has come for women police officers to take on a much larger role at every level of law enforcement, from local sheriffs all the way up to federal agencies.
The one thing those women who have made the struggle to the top levels of law enforcement would tell women who are interested in a career in law enforcement is, never give up, never let anyone tell that you cannot do something simply because of his gender.