Women in Policing

June 1, 2020

The presence of women in policing in the United States lags well behind that of comparable countries. Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom all have nearly twice the U.S. percentage of policewomen. That persistent hiring deficit defies research spanning more than 50 years that well documents the benefits of women in policing.

Women are consistently rated as trusted by their communities and, importantly, are motivated to serve communities in an era of decreased police legitimacy. Women have high levels of interpersonal communication skills, which translates into more effective practices in the field. Women are found to have a calming effect on male partners in high-stress and dangerous assignments, resulting in fewer police deaths. Higher levels of female representation are associated with organizations that emphasize community policing. Female police officers have a positive influence on the perceived job performance, trustworthiness, and fairness of a police agency, perhaps increasing the public’s willingness to cooperate in the production of positive public safety outcomes.

Female officers are less likely to use force, use excessive force, or be named in a lawsuit than male officers. Research has found that male officers were more likely than female officers to be aggressive as a result of some quality of the encountered member of the public, such as race or socioeconomic class Even though studies show that subjects use the same amount of force against female officers as against male officers, and in some cases, more force, female officers are more successful in defusing violent or aggressive behavior.

Read the full article by CPE's very own Ivonne Roman at Police Chief Magazine