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NCJ Number: 215892 Find in a Library
Title: Policewomen: Their First Century and the New Era
Journal: Police Chief  Volume:73  Issue:9  Dated:September 2006  Pages:56-58,60,61
Author(s): Peter Horne Ph.D.
Date Published: September 2006
Page Count: 5
Document: HTML
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing the early history of women in policing, this article focuses on the number and role of policewomen in the 21st century.
Abstract: On April 1, 1908, Lola Baldwin, 48, was sworn in as a "female detective to perform police service" for the city of Portland, OR. She was apparently the first woman hired by a U.S. municipality to perform regular law enforcement duties. Since then, women have made progress in policing over the years. In 1971, women composed only 1.4 percent of all police officers. Currently, policewomen account for just over 13 percent of police officers, and they serve in all types and sizes of police agencies, in all ranks, in all kinds of work assignments, and in all parts of the country. Still women remain underrepresented in all ranks; and there remain serious obstacles to overcome if policewomen are to move beyond their marginal status. Women are especially suited for the current paradigm of community policing, as research shows that women tend to be effective communicators and are proficient in solving problems. Policewomen also have a central role in interacting with women victims of domestic violence. Also, given that female officers are less likely than male officers to use excessive force, police departments can substantially reduce their exposure to excessive force lawsuits by employing more women. The acceptance of women as full partners with men in police work has been enhanced by the media's portrayal of women as effective officers; and a number of State, regional, national, and international associations have given support to female officers and provided organized support for the interest of police women. Female police applicants and officers continue to file discrimination lawsuits against law enforcement agencies, further forcing change through the courts.
Main Term(s): Police women
Index Term(s): Community policing; Domestic assault; Female victims; History of policing; Male female police performance comparisons; Sex discrimination
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