‘More Female Police Officers’ – The Best Fix For Police Violence?

Female police officer

Hire more female police officers to stop police violence is the new mainstream message

‘Hire more women’ has been touted as a quick fix to police brutality since Rodney King. Here’s why empty calls for equality fail.

abc news

Want to reform the police? Hire more women


Male police officers are more likely to user force

How more female police officers would help stop police brutality?

Washington Post

These are the headlines from the Media today. Looks like we will soon be seeing more female police officers?

As a suggestion police reform, some have suggested that hiring more women is a solution to police violence. While some research suggests that female officers are less likely to use force and more likely to display empathy than male officers, there is other research with opposite conclusion, finding no significant gender differences between male and female officers’ use of force or coercion.

Inconclusive research hasn’t stopped the media from pointing to the closing the gender gap as a quick-fix solution to police brutality. “Want to reform the police? Hire more women,” CNN suggested last month. It’s far from a novel concept. The year after Rodney King was beaten by Los Angeles police officers, Time magazine published its own call to close the gender gap. “Are women better cops?” Time asked.

Today, more than 25 years later, women still only make up 18% of sworn officers in the LAPD. But how many women are eager to join police force remains to be answered as there was nothing stopping them from joining the force for at least since the 3rd wave of feminism

“Policing is not a superhuman job,” said Gene Paoline, a criminal justice professor at the University of Central Florida who interviews police officers about gender as part of his field research. “It’s a public relations job that has flashes of excitement.”MORE: Why ‘tough guy’ policing fails

“You want your police agency to look like your community,” Paoline added.

The physical fitness test fallacy

Female Police officer

Women’s challenges in law enforcement begin long before they’re allowed on the force.

“We have recruitment practices in policing which overemphasize upper body strength,” said Rabe-Hemp. “It just disadvantages women,” she added.

“There’s no empirical research that suggests being able to deadlift weight is linked to success in policing.”

While women made up about 20% of the police academy in Newark, New Jersey, for example, they were being dismissed from training at rates between 65% and 80%, according to Ivonne Roman, a retired police chief from the city who now works at the Center for Policing Equity, which researches disparities in policing.

It wasn’t always that way. Women and men used to fail the physical fitness tests in New Jersey at a similar rate, with between 2% and 4% of women failing and 1% of men failing. A joint investigation by USA Today and the Asbury Park Press last year revealed when the New Jersey’s Police Training Commission changed the strength requirement in 2017, failure rates among female recruits skyrocketed, with women failing up to 13 times as often as men did.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Law and Order, Feminism, Violence

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