Women Police Officers
Women police officers is a developing field just like many occupations women have undertaken. Today we are realizing the rewards of having both female and male officers working together. However, it took time for this concept to progress.
The addition of women police officers has received assorted reactions from the public and police officers alike. I will explore the development and need for women police officers for an effective police department, inclusion of female police officers should be carried out to ensure a more diverse police culture.
Women began working in law enforcement as matrons. Their work often fell along the lines of social work duties working primarily with women and children often hired by departments after being widowed from a fellow officer.
Women struggle for recognition and advancement in police departments, for example the first sworn female police officer, Lola Baldwin, from Portland Oregon. Her job duties were largely of a social work nature, protecting young women working at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in 1905. Fortunately, her success in this task led to her swearing in as an officer with the power to conduct arrests in 1908.
Following suit, in 1910, the Los Angeles Police Department swore in Alice Wells as the country’s first “policewoman”. In 1912 the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department swore in Margaret Adams as the nations’ first female deputy sheriff however her responsibilities typically involved evidence processing.
During the Great Depression and World War II, approximately 1930-1940s, women progression in law enforcement came to a halt do to having to directly compete with men for jobs. Though they were able to continue to work in law enforcement it was more in the support capacity with roles such as dispatch and other desk oriented duties.
In the 1950s women in law enforcement moved from behind the desk and out onto the streets with the male police officers. There are many causes for this advancement but most of the credit goes to the formation of the International Association of Women Police in 1956 and police departments increased battle with prostitution and illegal drug sales in the 1960s. This new war on drugs allowed for the expansion and need for more female police officers to assist with specialized operations.
During the 1970s the presence of female officers in police departments became increasingly accepted by the general public because of the 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was implemented outlawing gender discrimination in public agencies, including police departments, breaking the glass ceiling to further expand opportunities for women in law enforcement, later establishing several law enforcement association devoted to women.
Over the last few decades women police officers have brought a unique face to policing. They have experienced trials and struggles to be acknowledged and respected in the various levels of policing.
Financial security and prestige are some of the reasons women join law eforement agencies. Taking up the challenge of being a cop and accomplishing it is a rewarding feeling to women who are expected to fail in a male dominated field. Across American states law enforcement agaencies have been accused of using brutal force when dealing with suspects. Deployment of women in the police force will reduce cases of use of force because women tend to handle suspected offenders in a human way.
The American police department has evolved since its inception in 1657 in Northern America. It has undergone structural changes as it works on acheieving its goal of citizen protection. Among the noticeable change is the acceptance of women in the law enforcement agency. Women working for the American police department were only allowed to work in the office. Field matters were only left to men. Women did not wear police uniform like their male counter parts.
The first police officer to join the American enforcement agency was Alice Stebbins Wells. She joined the police department in 1910. Before she joined law enforcement, Wells was a minister in Kansas, Alice petitioned the mayor of Los Angles to find her a position in the police department so that she could help in handing crime cases touching on children and women.
(women could only do what job)
A debate has been raging on a motion to boost the number of women officers in different states police department. Women are better than men in terms of handling suspects. Women deal with many violent criminals just like men, respond well to violent calls, defused crimes that were about to happen with the same expertise like male law enforcers.
Women receive fewer complaints, accusations, involved in fewer shooting incidents than male counterparts.
*According to Joseph Wambaugh, body size and stamina could no longer be used to determine one’s capability to join and survive the law enforcement units. He further stressed that gone were the days when interrogation on suspects cold be carried forcefully. Women are good at getting people to talk without using force. Hiring more women cops will reduce the number of cost and lawsuits associaited with use of brutal force by male police officers. ((Crime & Center, 2005)
Women deescalate tense situations by treating suspects with respect. Having women who are known to handle suspects in a human way will bridge the gap that exists between communities and law enforcement agencies because the suspect and their families feel more comfortable cooperating with officials.
Handling of violence against women incidents has been a challenge in law enforcement. Inclusion of more women will help how victims are handled.
In conclusion, increasing the number of women in law enforcement agencies will also improe its tarnished image of policing department that uses brutal force when handing offenders. The community will view the police as all round law enforcement catering to the needs of both men and women. Incidents of brutality will greatly reduce since studies and real time situation have proved women handle suspects while considering the laid laws of dealing with offenders. The succeeding in male dominated fields thus policing careers will not be an exception.
The story of women in law enforcement continues to evolve as police departments discover that female officers bring particular gifts and abilities to the profession. These advantages often include a less confrontational style than that of their male partners, a lower likelihood of use of excessive force, the ability to exercise empathy and effectively diffuse difficult situations —especially domestic calls, and a larger field of awareness in stressful situations.
Female officers’ abilities often complement those of male officers, resulting in a tactical as well as an investigative advantage when male-female teams are deployed. These advantages, if leveraged, can only advance the evolution of female service in law enforcement, and benefit the profession and those we serve and protect.
There are many stories of women who helped shape our profession — some are famous, others infamous, and still others are women whose stories are not widely known but are fascinating nonetheless. Further, there are countless stories right now being written by the women law enforcers patrolling the streets across this great nation. What will your story be?
Law enforcement as a career has been increasingly more popular for women in the recent years however the numbers have not increased greatly. In 2001 women accounted for only 12.7% of all sworn law enforcement positions in large agencies.
It is a fact that women officers make less arrest than men officers however the arrest made by female officers tend to hold up better in court.
Female officers do not appear to call in for support or assistance any more than their male counterparts. Yet they have been found to be as capable as male officers dealing with violent or angry situations. Evidence shows that because their appearance is less dangerous women officers have an advantage in dangerous situation resulting in avoiding injury to all parties involved.
The acceptance of women on patrol seems to have been embraced better by the public than by males officers. Female officers have reported feeling of isolation and perceived hostilities from co workers have suggested as potential problems.
Female officers are exposed to the same environmental stressors as male police officers but are not viewed as competent and may experience role conflict and job uncertainty.