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 research was prompted by widespread speculation that women, who began joining police departments in larger numbers in the early 1970s, would fail as patrol officers. One of the earliest studies, sponsored by the Police Foundation in 1974, found that women encountered many of the same kinds of situations (involving angry, drunk or violent individuals) and were as capable as men. The study’s most important finding, though, was that “women act less aggressively and they believe in less aggression.” The researchers predicted “the presence of women may stimulate increased attention to the ways of avoiding violence and cooling violent situations without resorting to the use of force.”
Subsequent studies have reached the same conclusions: In a 1988 article in the Journal of Police Science and Administration researcher Joseph Balkin reviewed the U.S. and international research spanning 14 years on the involvement of women in police work. He found uniformly that women not only perform the job of policing effectively, but are better able to defuse potentially violent situations: “Policemen see police work as involving control through authority,” he wrote, “while policewomen see it as a public service.”
The full impact of these differences would be revealed again in the startling findings of the 1992 Christopher Commission report on police brutality in the Los Angeles Police Department. The commission was created in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and the subsequent devastating riots: “Virtually every indicator examined by the commission establishes that female LAPD officers are involved in excessive use of force at rates substantially below those of male officers.” The commission explained: “Many officers, both male and female, believe female officers are less personally challenged by defiant suspects and feel less need to deal with defiance with immediate force or confrontational language.”
A 2002 study by the National Center for Women & Policing of excessive force incidents in seven major city police departments found that “the average male officer is over eight and a half times more likely than his female counterpart to have an allegation of excessive force sustained against him … [and] two to three times more likely than the average female officer to have a citizen name him in a complaint of excessive force.”
More recent data spanning 2004 to 2014 from the Denver, Indianapolis, Washington, D.C., and Kansas City police departments, reflect these earlier results: Women are named significantly less often than their male counterparts in excessive force complaints.
Comments are closed.
Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.
@1: cops are human and have human failings. we ask them to do a really horrible job. they need the patience of saints. if they overreact to provocations like spit, then they don't need to be cops, to say nothing of itchy trigger fingers. violence has to be in their toolkit, but it needs to be used sparingly and mindfully.
I'm not so sure I don't necessarily not disagree with you there.
@1 of course they are waging a war against the poor, brown, or otherwise "inferiors" of our culture. It's one of the primary reasons people join the police force.
First you're kinda being sexist. Women are every bit as capable of being aggressive fascist bullies as male cops. They aren't all sensitive fluffy kittens or what the fuck ever.
Second it's the very culture of policing in this country. It may have evolved from traditional gender roles but there are other countries like Denmark with a tradition of mostly white male cops that aren't total abusive macho bullies. So it's not just some reflection of identity politics.
I'll tell you what it is it's this reactionary macho culture which has evolved in response to a violent society awash in guns. Our cops feel like they care under siege so they all act like they're in a combat zones. White. Black. Male and female cops. They've decided they're warriors not police. And everyone else is the enemy.
Also, looking at the officer in question: When did SPD start hiring Neanderthals?
At least it's something.
After Ian Burke shot John T Williams to death, in the back, in cold blood, he didn't even get suspended. He got off scott-free.
Maybe things are changing, after all?
Meanwhile, Clark Allen Dickson was certified as a police officer in WA in September 2004, after being hired in April 2004 by SPD. (often police are certified through on the job training). He lives in Mill Creek with his wife and son.
Better question. Why would any qualified and also sane person want to be Seattle police officer?