Women In Law Enforcement

Abstract

Integration of women in law enforcement agencies has for a very long received mixed reactions from different quotas. This research paper will explore the need and prove that women are capable of handling matters law enforcement. For an effective police department, inclusion of both sexes should be carried out to ensure the touch brought to professionalism in work environments by women is experienced.

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Racism has also brought strife in law enforcement agencies; inclusion of black officers has been met with resistance by their white counterparts. Women have had to struggle for recognition in the police departments. Through scholarly studies and looking into instances where women have proven to be worth policing jobs, this paper will demystify the stereotype associated with female police officers.

Introduction

For the last two decades women in law enforcement agency have been known to bring a unique face to policing. They have undergone trials and struggles to be accepted and valued at federal, local and state levels of law enforcement. Female applicants who qualify for law enforcement need to raise their self worth and physical capability.

Financial security and prestige are some of the reason women join law enforcement agencies (Eitle, 2005). 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. A cross American States, law enforcement agencies 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 (Lonsway, 2000).

The American police department has evolved since its inception in 1657 in Northern America. It has undergone structural changes as it works on achieving 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 (Lonsway, 2000).

The first police officer to join the American law 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 handling crime cases touching on children and women (Yentens, Meagher and Muncie 1985).

A debate has been raging on a motion to boost the number of women officers in different State’s Police Department, putting in mind that more studies into whether police women make cops have proved positive. Women are better than men in terms of handling suspects. In 1973, a study of female cops achievements in Washington, D.C., proved that women were dealing with many violent criminals just like men, they also responded well to the same calls. The study also found that women also handled patrols with similar capacity like men. In addition, women were reported to defuse crimes that were about to happen with the same expertise like male law enforcers (Hassel, Archbold and Stichman, 2011).

In another study in 1989, 3,515 complaints across New York City police officers, women officers got fewer accusations and most respondents preferred been handled by a female police officers. Women were involved in few shooting incidents. A Los Angeles Commission named the Christopher Inquiry filed its findings noting LAPD female cops used less force when dealing with its juniors. Former police officer cum author Joseph Wambaugh spent a substantial amount of time in the police and learnt the behaviors of police officers both male and female. He stressed the fact that the force needed more female officers (Miller et al., 2003).

According to his analysis, Joseph believed that body size and stamina could no longer be used to determine one’s capability to join and survive in the law enforcement units. He further stressed that gone were the days when interrogation on suspects could be carried forcefully. Women are good at getting people to talk without using force. Joseph stressed that a good cop should let suspects open at their own speed without use of brutal force to obtain information. Community policing is enhanced by mutual benefit between the community and law enforcement agencies. According to Joseph, hiring more women cops will reduce the number and cost of lawsuits associated with use of brutal force by male police officers (Crime & Center, 2005).

Law enforcement agencies need to stop marginalizing female cops, sexual harassment on female officers should be put to a halt. The law suits associated with cop to cop sexual harassment are an embarrassment to the police department of Los Angeles and they cost the taxpayer huge sums of money, which can be channeled to other meaningful projects. Policies should be implemented to increase the hiring of qualified female police officers for the all American States (Brough & Frame, 2004). Law enforcement training should be in line with what is happening on the ground. For instance scaling a six-foot wall during training should not be a determinant for one to qualify for police intake. Once an officer is hired, they never practice such stunts. Having more women in police force does not depreciate the standards of the law enforcement agency.

More women in the police force will not lower law enforcement morale. Giving female officers an opportunity is the only way to prove their capability. In the Army African-Americans were only proven equal to their white counterparts after they were given an opportunity to serve in the disciplined forces (Crime & Center, 2005). Furthermore, female officers rarely desert duty without warning and if they do, the numbers are equal to the male officers who desert duty. More campaigns need to be carried out to encourage more women to join law enforcement agencies. Most women are in need of policing jobs but the stereotyping they receive hinders them from joining the police departments.

Law enforcement departments are supposed to be at the forefront to make women wanted and respected so that they can successfully apply as cops. Myths of women not been up to task should be discarded. State police departments which have equal numbers of women and men will be an advantage to well being of states. Excessive force used of suspects will reduce consequently enhancing community policing. Cases such as domestic violence and sex related assaults will be dealt with the swiftness they demand if the community has faith on a responsive law enforcement agency (Hassell et al., 2011).

Michael Brown and Johnson entered Ferguson market retail and shoved the attendant backwards as they took away a packet of cigars. A closed circuit television (CCTV) recorded Michael’s actions prompting the police dispatch call center to alert the closest officer in that area. Officer Darren Wilson was patrolling the area and received a distress call from dispatch of an ongoing robbery. He immediately responded to the call and on his way to the robbed retail store, he met Michael and Johnson walking down street. After close observation, Officer Wilson noticed that the description given by the dispatch center matched that of Michael and Johnson (Crime & Center, 2005).

He immediately blocked their way using his SUV. A tussle to free them ensued, both of the suspects jumped out of the SUV prompting Wilson to fire shoots in the air. Wilson ran after Brown as he fired shots. Brown stopped midway facing Wilson and began walking towards the arresting officer. It is not clear what ensued after that, whether Michael surrendered as he walked towards the officer. Several gunshots were heard resulting to the death of Brown .

With scarce evidence on whether Brown surrendered or not, his killing sparked a wave of protests from African-Americans and human rights activists. Protesters brought business to a standstill in Ferguson with looting and destruction of property been evident all over the town. A night curfew was immediately affected to control the growing protests and destruction of property (Britton, 2000). There were concerns from human activists of why Brown was fatally shot yet he was unarmed and had surrendered and turned around.

With no evidence of the alleged surrendering by Michael Brown, the case was decided in favor of Officer Wilson whom it was decided acted within the law to defend himself against an aggressive suspect, which in this case was Michael Brown. A grand jury headed by the prosecuting attorney, Robert P. McCulloch was given the responsibility of turning in evidence for the alleged, in-appropriate shooting of Michael Brown (Crime & Center, 2005). The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) asked to be enjo0ined in the case to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown. Upon finishing its investigations, the FBI concluded that there lacked enough evidence to prove Officer Wilson was in fatally shooting Brown guilty.

Officer Wilson might have been provoked by the fact that Brown forcefully escaped from Wilson’s SUV. The struggle that ensued when he blocked Brown and Johnson might have irked him. In an effort to arrest Michael, Wilson pursed him on foot and started firing shots at him. It is not clear whether the shots were meant to scare Brown. When Brown stopped, Wilson went on to shot severally and eventually fatally killing him with over ten bullets. It is also alleged that Brown attempted to fetch an item from his jacket; it is not clear whether it was a gun or the cigars he had stolen from the Ferguson market retail store, however, the force used was and is still considered excessive (Miller & Segal, 2014).

In law enforcement agency it is against the law to use brutal force on a suspect on basis of his skin color, sex or physical challenges. African-American is the race that has suffered more when it comes to the brutal force used by police. Mistreatment of black Americans has been going on even after slavery ended. The stereotyping of black American men as been violent has largely to the way they are handled by law enforcement agencies (Wilson & Blackburn, 2014). Activism by both white and black Americans has significantly reduced the racism and hate existing between white and black people. Policies have been implemented to ensure police officers do abuse the powers are trusted upon them.

To enhance community policing, law enforcements agencies should closely work with communities to eliminate criminals and bad elements among the community. One of the ways to gain the trust of both the white and black Americans trust is to ensure they treat suspects with utmost respect, this way those volunteering information are assured of fair justice to suspects. Suspects do have families and friends who value them in spite of them leading wayward lives. Handing over loved ones to authorities who do not obey the law when handling offenders leads to hesitation of communities.

Having women who are known to handle suspects in a human way will bridge the gap that exists between communities and law enforcements agencies (Kakar, 2002).
The Michael Brown and Officer Wilson case is one of the multiple instances of use of excessive of force when handling suspects. The jury that made the verdict that Wilson was innocent did not clearly mention whether Brown had a weapon, which threatened Wilson’s life. In such a case, if the arresting officer was a woman, there probably would have been no fatal accident considering Brown was a minor and was allegedly unarmed and female officers are less likely to use excessive force (Colvin, 2008).

Handling of violence against women incidents has been a major challenge to both law enforcement agencies and human rights activists. Inclusion of more women will not only help how victims are handled but also time taken to respond to such cases. More female officers will curb cases of sexual harassment and discrimination within the law enforcement agency. A balanced number in female and male officers will also ensure that policies implemented cater for the needs of both women and men thus equality in policing (Britton, 2000).

In conclusion, increasing the number of women in the law enforcement agencies will also improve its tarnished image of a policing department that uses brutal force when handling offenders. The community will view the police as all round law enforcement catering for the needs of both men and women. Incidences of brutality will greatly reduce since studies and real time situations have proved women handle suspects while considering the laid laws of dealing with offenders (Yentes et al., 1985). The society has witnessed women succeeding in male dominated fields thus policing careers will not be an exception. Increasing the number the number of women in law enforcement will also encourage young girls who would like to serve in the same capacity.

Works Cited

Lonsway, K. A. (2000). Hiring & Retaining More Women: The Advantages to Law Enforcement Agencies.
Archbold, C. A., & Schulz, D. M. (2008). Making Rank The Lingering Effects of Tokenism on Female Police Officers’ Promotion Aspirations. Police Quarterly,11(1), 50-73.
Miller, S. L., Forest, K. B., & Jurik, N. C. (2003). Diversity in blue lesbian and gay police officers in a masculine occupation. Men and masculinities, 5(4), 355-385.
Hassell, K. D., Archbold, C. A., & Stichman, A. J. (2011). Comparing the workplace experiences of male and female police officers: examining workplace problems, stress, job satisfaction and consideration of career change.International Journal of Police Science & Management, 13(1), 37-53.
Britton, D. M. (2000). The epistemology of the gendered organization. Gender & society, 14(3), 418-434.
Kakar, S. (2002). Gender and police officers’ perceptions of their job performance: An analysis of the relationship between gender and perceptions of job performance. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 13(3), 238-256.
Colvin, R. (2008). Shared perceptions among lesbian and gay police officers: Barriers and opportunities in the law enforcement work environment. Police Quarterly.
Wilson, F. T., & Blackburn, A. G. (2014). The Depiction of Female Municipal Police Officers in the First Four Decades of the Core Cop Film Genre:“It’s a Man’s World”. Women & Criminal Justice, 24(2), 83-105.
Brough, P., & Frame, R. (2004). Predicting police job satisfaction and turnover intentions: The role of social support and police organisational variables. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 33(1), 8-18.
Crime, R., & Center, J. (2005). Female Law Enforcement Officer Motivations Regarding Entering, Continuing, and Leaving Law Enforcement: Findings from Nationwide Research. Public Relations, Media, and Political Affairs, 131.
Yentes, N. A., Meagher, S., & Muncie, I. (1985). Choosing Policing As A Career: An Examination Of Male And Female Officer Attitudes.
Miller, A. R., & Segal, C. (2014). Do female officers improve law enforcement quality? Effects on crime reporting and domestic violence escalation. Effects on Crime Reporting and Domestic Violence Escalation (September 16, 2014).
Pole, N. (2008). Predictors of PTSD symptoms in police officers: From childhood to retirement. The Psychobiology of Trauma and Resilience Across the Lifespan. New York, NY: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 47-67.
Eitle, D. (2005). The influence of mandatory arrest policies, police organizational characteristics, and situational variables on the probability of arrest in domestic violence cases. Crime & Delinquency, 51(4), 573-597.

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