Equality Denied

The Status of Women in Policing:  1999

 

I

n order to monitor the growth of women in law enforcement, the National Center for Women & Policing has completed its third annual study on the status of women in the largest law enforcement agencies in the country.  This report examines the gains and gaps in the numbers of women in policing, and provides a picture of where women are in law enforcement today.  The report examines the major barriers preventing women from increasing their numbers in law enforcement and the adverse effects of the continued under-representation of women in police departments. 

Since its inception in early 1995, the National Center for Women & Policing has been a leading force behind increasing the numbers of women in law enforcement.  Studies have illustrated the positive impact of women in policing, including the reduction of police brutality, the increased efficacy in police response to violence against women, and the increased emphasis on conflict resolution over use of force.  These conclusions mandate that we strive for gender balance in policing. 

 

Yet, our research shows that the increase of women in law enforcement continues at an alarmingly slow rate.  Women comprise only 14.3% of all sworn law enforcement positions nationwide – a meager increase of one-half of one percent from 1998 and only 5.3 percentage points higher than in 1990, when women made up 9% of officers.  The data are clear: at the present rate of growth, women will not achieve equality in law enforcement agencies for several generations.

 

KEY FINDINGS[1]

·        Women comprise 14.3% of all sworn law enforcement positions among municipal, county, and state law enforcement agencies in the United States with 100 or more sworn officers.  Women of color hold 6.8% of these positions.

·        Over the last nine years, the representation of women in sworn law enforcement ranks has increased by 5.3% percent, from 9% in 1990 to 14.3% in 1999. 

·        The gains for women in policing are so slow that, at the current rate of growth, it will take several generations for women to reach equal representation or gender balance in law enforcement agencies.

·        Women currently hold 5.6% of sworn Top Command law enforcement positions, 9.2% of Supervisory positions, and 15.6% of Line Operation positions.[2]  Women of color hold 1.1% of sworn Top Command law enforcement positions, 2.8% of Supervisory positions, and 7.8% of Line Operations positions. 

·        More than 65% of the agencies surveyed reported no women in Top Command positions and 91% of the agencies reported no women of color in the highest ranks. This is a clear indication that women continue to be largely excluded from the essential policy making positions in policing.

·        State agencies trail municipal and county agencies by a wide margin in hiring and promoting women.  Specifically, state agencies report 6.2% sworn women law enforcement officers, which is significantly lower than the percentages reported by municipal agencies (16.6%) and county agencies (11.1%).

·        Women continue to hold a majority (66.1%) of lower-paid civilian law enforcement positions.  Women of color hold 25.7% of civilian positions. 

·        Although women continue to hold a majority of civilian law enforcement positions, they are not equally represented in top management positions where they remain at 42%.  Women of color hold a mere 6.4% of the management positions in civilian law enforcement.

·         Law enforcement agencies with corrections personnel report that women comprise 26.4% of all corrections positions.  Women of color hold 14% of all corrections positions. 

·        Women comprise 29.3% of Line Operations positions within corrections personnel, 16.2% of Supervisory positions, and a mere 8.2% of Top Command positions.  Women of color hold only 1.6% of the coveted top command positions within corrections. 

 

BARRIERS TO WOMEN IN POLICING

Research concludes that the single largest barrier to increasing the numbers of women in policing is the attitudes and behavior of their male colleagues. For example, national studies consistently find that discrimination and sexual harassment are pervasive in police departments and that supervisors and commanders not only tolerate such practices by others, but also are frequently perpetrators themselves.[3]  Hostile environments and systemic discrimination keep women from joining police agencies in more significant numbers and from being promoted up the ranks to policy-making positions, thus perpetuating a style of policing that is outdated, ineffective, and enormously costly to communities.

 

BIASED ENTRY TESTS

·        Entry exams, with their over-emphasis on upper body strength, favor men and wash out qualified women – despite studies showing that physical prowess is less related to job performance than verbal and mediation skills.  In fact, no research has shown that strength is related to an individual’s ability to successfully manage a dangerous situation.[4] While discriminatory height requirements were finally discarded in the early 1970’s, today’s tests that over-emphasize upper body strength continue to bar highly qualified women from entering policing. 

 

WIDESPREAD DISCRIMINATION ON THE JOB

·        Once on the job, women are frequently intimidated, harassed, and maliciously thwarted, especially as they move up the ranks.[5]  In Los Angeles, male officers formed a clandestine organization within the LAPD called “Men Against Women” whose purpose is to wage an orchestrated campaign of harassment, intimidation and criminal activity against women officers – just one example of the kind of organized harassment women experience in law enforcement.  A large number of women across the country have been driven from their jobs in law enforcement due to unpunished, unchecked, and unrelenting abuse.   

 

RECRUITMENT POLICIES THAT FAVOR MEN

·        Law enforcement agencies continue to heavily recruit ex-military personnel and at military bases, security agencies, and male-oriented sporting events, which are all disproportionately populated by men.  Recruitment departments have not adequately intensified their efforts to attract qualified women candidates or to portray policing as a profession that welcomes women.

 

OUTDATED MODEL OF POLICING

·         Many law enforcement agencies continue to promote an outdated model of policing by rewarding tough, aggressive, even violent, behavior.  This “paramilitary” style of policing results in poor community relations, increased citizen complaints, and more violent confrontations and deaths.  Redefining law enforcement to a community-oriented model of policing would attract more women who are repelled by policing’s trademark aggressive and authoritarian image.

 

UNDER-REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN HURTS LAW ENFORCEMENT

ESCALATING COST OF POLICE BRUTALITY

·        Research indicates that women officers are not as likely as their male counterparts to be involved in the use of excessive force.[6]  This suggests that increasing the number of women in police departments may reduce excessive force by police and improve police effectiveness and service to communities. Thus, the continued under-representation of women in policing is contributing to and exacerbating law enforcement’s excessive force problems.  The actual and potential liability for cities and states is staggering, with lawsuits due to excessive force by male law enforcement personnel costing tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money every year. 

 

INEFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

·        The under-representation of women in law enforcement also has significant implications for women in the community who are victims of domestic violence.  Domestic violence is believed to be the most common yet least reported crime in the United States.  These crimes account for up to 40% of all calls to police[7] and one-third of all law enforcement’s time.[8]  Given the extent of the problem, it is important to note that female officers are demonstrably more effective than their male counterparts in responding to crimes against women.[9]  Even more critical, studies have found that up to 40% of officers commit domestic abuse themselves.[10]  As a result there is a 40% chance that officers responding to a scene of a domestic violence incident may themselves be an abuser.  It is therefore reasonable to speculate that the overall quality of police response to cases of violence against women may improve greatly by increasing the numbers of women in law enforcement. 

 

DAMAGED POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS

·        Women favor a community-oriented approach to policing which is rooted in strong interpersonal and communication skills and which emphasizes conflict resolution over use of force.  With greater numbers of women, this highly effective model of policing will increasingly improve the public image of law enforcement agencies as well as have a positive impact on police-community relations nationwide. 

 

COSTLY SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL DISCRIMINATI0N LAWSUITS

·        Law enforcement agencies have tolerated workplace environments that are openly hostile and discriminatory towards female employees, forcing women to bring successful lawsuits against their agencies.  The ongoing serious under-representation of women in policing leads to greater numbers of incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination.  Increasing the number of women and treating women equally on the job, will reduce the enormous costs resulting from widespread lawsuits.


THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN POLICING: 1999 SURVEY FINDINGS

 

Over the last 28 years, women have increased their representation in sworn law enforcement positions to 14.3% in 1999, from a low of 2% in 1972.[11]  This 12.3 % gain has been spread over the intervening years, averaging an annual rate of less than one-half of one percent per year.  In 1978, women in the largest municipal agencies held 4.2% of the sworn law enforcement positions.  Ten years later, in 1988, that number had barely doubled to 8.8%,[12] and it was not until 1993 that police agencies on average had reached a major benchmark, crossing into the double digits.

In 1999, the rate of increase remained constant.  From 1998 to 1999, women increased their representation in policing from 13.8% to 14.3%, a mere gain of one-half of one percentage point. With very few exceptions, women remain underrepresented at every level of sworn law enforcement and are essentially absent from the decision-making ranks and positions of authority.  Data from 1990 to 1999 demonstrate only a slight 5.3 percentage point increase (See Graph 1).

 

The Status of Women in Sworn Law Enforcement


Graph 1

Sources: NCWP Survey 1997, 1998, and 1999; Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics,” 1990 and 1993. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Not surprisingly, women’s gains are concentrated in the lowest tier of sworn law enforcement positions. Women hold 15.6% of Line Operation positions, but their numbers rapidly decrease in the higher ranks.  For example, women hold 9.2% of Supervisory posts and only 5.6% of Top Command positions (See Graph 2).[13]  Only seven percent of the 126 responding law enforcement agencies reported more than 20% women in Top Command.  By contrast, fully 65% percent of the agencies surveyed reported having no women in Top Command and approximately 91% reported having no women of color in Top Command.

 

Graph 2


Source: NCWP Survey, 1999    

____________________________________________________________________________________

Comparisons between state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies also reveal sharp differences for women in policing.  While county and municipal agencies tally 16.6% and 11.1% women in sworn law enforcement positions, respectively, state agencies lag with an average of 6.2% (See Graph 3).

 

Graph 3


Source: NCWP Survey, 1999

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

The Status of Women in Civilian Law Enforcement

Although women hold only 14.3% of the sworn law enforcement positions in agencies surveyed, they continue to hold the majority of lower-paid civilian jobs (See Graph 4).


Graph 4

Source: NCWP Survey, 1999                                                             

________________________________________________________________________

Among civilian personnel, women comprise 42.2% of Management positions, 61% of Supervisory positions, and 67.4% of Support Staff (See Graph 5).[14]  While women comprise a significant majority of civilian positions, they continue to be underrepresented in civilian Management positions.


Graph 5

Source: NCWP Survey, 1999

____________________________________________________________________________

 

The Status of Women in Correctional Law Enforcement

Comparisons between the percentage of women serving in corrections facilities and women serving as sworn officers in state, county, and municipal agencies indicate a vast difference.[15]  The percentage of women in corrections positions is almost twice as high as the percentage of sworn women police personnel – 26.4% in corrections compared to 14.3% in sworn (See Graph 6).  Unfortunately, corrections officers are traditionally paid less than sworn law enforcement officers in non-corrections positions, and often have less career advancement opportunity. 


Graph 6

Source: NCWP Survey, 1999.  

Women’s gains in correctional facilities are also concentrated in the lowest tier.  Women comprise 29.3% of Line Operations positions within corrections, 16.2% of Supervisory positions, and a mere 8.2% of Top Command positions (See Graph 7).


Graph 7

Source: NCWP Survey, 1999

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

The Status of Women of Color in Law Enforcement

In the majority of law enforcement agencies, women of color are also under-represented.  While women hold 14.3% overall of sworn law enforcement positions, women of color hold 6.8% of these jobs.  Moreover, women of color are virtually absent from the highest ranks, holding only 1.1% of the coveted Top Command positions in sworn law enforcement (See Graph 8).  No agency reported more than 16% women of color in sworn law enforcement ranks.


Graph 8

Source: NCWP Report, 1999

____________________________________________________________________________

While women of color have made greater gains as civilian personnel, holding 25.7% of civilian positions, they comprise only 6.4% of civilian Management positions and 18.2% of Supervisory positions.  (See Graph 9).


Graph 9

Source: NCWP Survey, 1999

______________________________________________________________________________

Although, women represent 26.4% of corrections personnel overall, women of color hold 14% of these positions.  Moreover, women of color hold only 1.6% of the Top Command positions within corrections.  (See Graph 10).

Graph 10


Source: NCWP Survey, 1999. 

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Overall, women have made small gains in law enforcement over the past 28 years and continue to increase in numbers at an alarmingly slow rate.  Until law enforcement agencies enact policies and practices designed to recruit, retain, and promote women, gender balance in policing will remain a distant reality.

 

METHODOLOGY

This study was conducted from July 1999 to November 1999 and surveyed 180 law enforcement agencies with 100 or more sworn officers; 126 responded with information.  To avoid the reality and appearance of bias, all contact with participating agencies was designed to be both persistent and consistent.  In order to meet these two goals, the following implementation plan was followed. 

·         A cover letter and survey questionnaire was mailed to the head of the law enforcement agency (Chief or Sheriff) in July 1999. 

·         Next, a phone call was made to the office of the agency’s head to determine the appropriate contact person to provide the desired information.  Based on past experience, this is most likely to be the director of human resources, although this certainly varies by agency. 

·         A phone call was then made to the contact person.  A copy of the survey was faxed immediately to the contact person if he or she had not yet received it. 

·         After the contact person received the faxed survey, a follow-up call was made within a few days to emphasize the importance of the study and their role in it, to address any questions or concerns, and to generally facilitate their participation. 

·         Finally, follow-up phone calls were made to each contact person, either until the department provided information or it became clear that no amount of persistence would yield cooperation.  Specifically, non-participating departments were called up to four times.  The number of phone calls made was documented to assure consistency across the departments in our sample (i.e., how many attempts were made to reach the contact person and how many discussions took place). 

·         If errors or inconsistencies were found in any survey responses, the contact person was telephoned until the issue was clarified or it became clear that no amount of persistence would yield clarification.  In the latter instance, the data in question was excluded from further analysis.

 

The study includes 56 municipal agencies, 44 county departments, and 26 state agencies.  The sizes of the agencies included in the survey range from a high of 12,604 sworn officers to a low of 32.  The mean is 719.42 and the median is 246.5.  For a complete ranking of the 126 police agencies in the present sample from the highest to the lowest percentage of sworn women law enforcement officers, see Table 1.  Comparison data for the years 1990 and 1993 were obtained from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.[16]  (Please refer to the Technical Appendix for a more complete discussion of the sampling and methodology used in the 1999 Status of Women in Policing Report.)

 


 

APPENDIX

     

Agency

State

Total Sworn   Officers

Total Sworn Women Officers

%Sworn Women Officers

% Sworn Women Top Command

% Sworn Women Super-visory

% Sworn Women Line Operation

% Sworn Women of Color

1

Philadelphia Police

PA

6,753

1,636

24.2%

7.2%

9.8%

26.9%

15.9%

2

Chicago Police

IL

12,604

2,756

21.9%

8.0%

16.0%

22.8%

11.7%

3

Lakewood Police

CO

246

46

18.7%

0.0%

8.1%

21.1%

1.2%

4

Montgomery County Sheriff

MD

109

20

18.3%

0.0%

25.8%

16.9%

2.8%

5

Miami Police

FL

1,099

198

18.0%

9.7%

14.6%

19.1%

14.6%

6

Dane County Sheriff

WI

379

68

17.9%

16.7%

18.4%

17.9%

0.5%

7

Union County Sheriff

NJ

147

26

17.7%

0.0%

24.3%

15.9%

2.7%

8

Baltimore County Sheriff

MD

63

11

17.5%

50.0%

12.5%

15.7%

1.6%

9

Grand Rapids Police

MI

364

63

17.3%

10.0%

15.4%

18.0%

2.5%

10

Concord Police

CA

157

26

16.6%

0.0%

10.7%

18.4%

3.8%

11

Lincoln Police

NE

296

49

16.6%

11.1%

14.0%

17.5%

0.3%

12

Fort Pierce Police

FL

94

15

16.0%

0.0%

9.5%

18.8%

7.4%

13

Gainesville Police

FL

247

37

15.0%

20.0%

17.4%

14.3%

4.0%

14

Ramsey County Sheriff

MN

298

44

14.8%

0.0%

16.0%

14.9%

0.7%

15

Cumberland County Sheriff

NC

293

43

14.7%

0.0%

10.1%

16.8%

6.8%

16

Arlington Police

TX

491

72

14.7%

0.0%

8.1%

16.3%

4.5%

17

Boulder County Sheriff

CO

89

12

13.5%

0.0%

9.5%

15.6%

1.1%

18

Los Angeles County Sheriff

CA

6,042

806

13.3%

12.8%

10.8%

13.8%

6.7%

19

Polk County Sheriff

FL

473

62

13.1%

0.0%

11.9%

14.7%

1.1%

20

Nye County Sheriff

NV

64

8

12.5%

16.7%

10.0%

12.5%

0.0%

21

Lafourche Parish Sheriff

LA

113

14

12.4%

0.0%

11.4%

13.9%

1.8%

22

Charleston Police

SC

340

42

12.4%

0.0%

11.1%

12.9%

4.4%

23

Sedgwick County Sheriff

KS

162

20

12.3%

10.0%

12.1%

12.6%

0.6%

24

Loudoun County Sheriff

VA

149

18

12.1%

0.0%

3.8%

14.4%

2.0%

25

Houston Police

TX

5,386

649

12.0%

3.7%

7.7%

13.3%

6.3%

26

Charlotte County Sheriff

FL

226

27

11.9%

0.0%

5.8%

14.2%

1.8%

27

Winston-Salem Police

NC

435

51

11.7%

20.0%

14.9%

10.9%

2.8%

28

Ventura County Sheriff

CA

728

85

11.7%

6.5%

5.9%

13.1%

4.1%

29

Sarasota County Sheriff

FL

318

37

11.6%

0.0%

4.0%

13.5%

0.3%

30

Bernalillo County Sheriff

NM

251

29

11.6%

0.0%

10.0%

12.3%

6.0%

31

Scottsdale Police

AZ

314

36

11.5%

12.5%

5.8%

12.6%

0.3%

32

Everett Police

WA

175

20

11.4%

0.0%

3.1%

14.0%

1.1%

33

Denver Police

CO

1,422

158

11.1%

14.3%

11.4%

10.9%

4.4%

34

Port St. Lucie Police

FL

130

14

10.8%

0.0%

4.3%

12.9%

2.3%

35

Leon County Sheriff

FL

223

24

10.8%

7.1%

9.8%

11.3%

3.1%

36

Norwalk Police

CT

177

19

10.7%

0.0%

10.0%

11.3%

3.4%

37

Plano Police

TX

285

30

10.5%

0.0%

5.4%

11.5%

0.7%

38

Mobile Police

AL

486

51

10.5%

0.0%

6.2%

11.8%

4.9%

39

Florida Highway Patrol

FL

1,726

180

10.4%

2.8%

5.7%

12.0%

3.0%

40

Collier County Sheriff

FL

481

50

10.4%

0.0%

4.6%

12.0%

0.6%

41

Jacksonville Sheriff

FL

1,495

153

10.2%

6.7%

4.0%

11.3%

3.0%

42

Richmond  County Sheriff

GA

483

49

10.1%

0.0%

10.8%

10.4%

5.0%

43

Long Beach Police

CA

869

88

10.1%

0.0%

6.8%

11.0%

3.5%

44

Miramar Police

FL

130

13

10.0%

14.3%

13.3%

8.8%

0.8%

45

Massachusetts State Police

MA

2,266

226

10.0%

3.9%

5.6%

11.6%

0.8%

46

St. Louis County Police

MO

664

64

9.6%

0.0%

5.3%

10.6%

1.4%

47

Rochester Police

NY

700

67

9.6%

5.3%

9.8%

9.7%

4.0%

48

Athens-Clarke County Police

GA

210

20

9.5%

0.0%

9.5%

10.0%

1.4%

49

Elkhart Police

IN

105

10

9.5%

25.0%

4.8%

10.0%

0.0%

50

Howard County Sheriff

MD

32

3

9.4%

0.0%

0.0%

11.1%

3.1%

51

Illinois State Police

IL

1,979

185

9.3%

12.2%

9.1%

9.4%

1.0%

52

Will County Sheriff

IL

258

24

9.3%

0.0%

5.0%

11.1%

2.7%

53

Palm Beach County Sheriff

FL

952

88

9.2%

5.9%

6.8%

9.8%

1.4%

54

Baytown Police

TX

134

12

9.0%

0.0%

11.1%

9.1%

2.2%

55

Washtenaw County Sheriff

MI

134

12

9.0%

0.0%

8.7%

9.1%

0.0%

56

Riverside Police

CA

317

28

8.8%

16.7%

4.1%

9.5%

0.9%

57

Evansville Police

IN

285

25

8.8%

11.1%

13.3%

7.4%

0.4%

58

Rhode Island State Police

RI

197

17

8.6%

0.0%

4.7%

11.2%

0.5%

59

Bay County Sheriff

FL

174

15

8.6%

0.0%

13.5%

7.9%

0.6%

60

Naperville Police

IL

176

15

8.5%

0.0%

10.0%

8.5%

0.6%

61

Jefferson County Sheriff

AL

282

24

8.5%

8.3%

11.9%

7.4%

3.5%

62

Oswega Police

NY

47

4

8.5%

25.0%

0.0%

8.8%

0.0%

63

Youngstown Police

OH

200

17

8.5%

0.0%

9.3%

8.6%

4.5%

64

Citrus County Sheriff

FL

153

13

8.5%

0.0%

0.0%

10.9%

0.7%

65

California Highway Patrol

CA

6,553

554

8.5%

5.1%

7.9%

8.6%

1.6%

66

Minnesota State Patrol

MN

524

44

8.4%

11.5%

8.2%

8.2%

0.0%

67

Davie Police

FL

143

12

8.4%

0.0%

9.5%

8.6%

0.7%

68

Kenosha Police

WI

167

14

8.4%

0.0%

12.5%

8.2%

0.6%

69

Broward County Police

FL

1,192

99

8.3%

6.7%

8.1%

8.4%

1.4%

70

Newark Police

NJ

1,716

142

8.3%

3.2%

4.2%

9.0%

7.9%

71

Clark County Sheriff

WA

123

10

8.1%

0.0%

17.6%

6.9%

0.8%

72

Tyler Police

TX

173

14

8.1%

0.0%

10.3%

7.9%

2.3%

73

Charleston Police

WV

184

14

7.6%

16.7%

5.1%

7.9%

1.6%

74

Sterling Heights Police

MI

171

13

7.6%

0.0%

0.0%

9.8%

0.0%

75

Ogden Police

UT

120

9

7.5%

0.0%

5.3%

8.2%

0.0%

76

Arizona Dept. of Public Safety

AZ

995

74

7.4%

0.0%

10.6%

6.8%

0.9%

77

Charles County Sheriff

MD

193

14

7.3%

0.0%

6.5%

7.8%

1.0%

78

Fresno County Sheriff

CA

432

31

7.2%

0.0%

5.6%

7.6%

0.5%

79

Ventura Police

CA

127

9

7.1%

0.0%

0.0%

8.7%

0.8%

80

Santa Barbara Police

CA

144

10

6.9%

0.0%

0.0%

9.0%

1.4%

81

Denton Police

TX

130

9

6.9%

33.3%

0.0%

7.4%

0.8%

82

Corpus Christi Police

TX

420

29

6.9%

3.7%

6.6%

10.2%

2.4%

83

Chesterfield County Police

VA

394

27

6.9%

12.5%

3.6%

7.3%

0.8%

84

Brockton Police

MA

195

13

6.7%

0.0%

0.0%

8.2%

2.1%

85

Hoover Police

AL

124

8

6.5%

0.0%

3.8%

7.4%

0.0%

86

St. Charles County Sheriff

MO

124

8

6.5%

0.0%

4.3%

7.2%

0.8%

87

Montana Highway Patrol

MT

204

13

6.4%

0.0%

10.7%

6.0%

0.5%

88

Canton Police

OH

192

12

6.3%

0.0%

2.4%

7.7%

1.6%

89

Connecticut State Police

CT

1,081

67

6.2%

4.2%

4.1%

6.8%

0.5%

90

Nevada Highway Patrol

NV

405

25

6.2%

0.0%

3.0%

7.0%

0.7%

91

Cranston Police

RI

149

9

6.0%

0.0%

0.0%

7.6%

0.7%

92

Alaska State Troopers

AK

338

20

5.9%

0.0%

6.3%

6.2%

0.9%

93

Clarkstown Police

NY

153

9

5.9%

0.0%

0.0%

7.3%

0.0%

94

Hamilton County Sheriff

TN

154

9

5.8%

0.0%

10.7%

5.0%

1.9%

95

Billings Police

MT

120

7

5.8%

0.0%

0.0%

7.0%

0.0%

96

Grand Prairie Police

TX

178

10

5.6%

0.0%

3.4%

6.2%

0.6%

97

Martin County Sheriff

FL

214

12

5.6%

0.0%

2.5%

6.7%

0.9%

98

Arlington Heights Police

IL

108

6

5.6%

0.0%

0.0%

7.2%

0.0%

99

Arkansas State Police

AR

560

31

5.5%

0.0%

3.1%

6.4%

0.7%

100

Indiana State Police

IN

1,248

69

5.5%

2.9%

5.5%

5.6%

0.3%

101

Reading Police

PA

205

11

5.4%

0.0%

2.7%

6.2%

0.5%

102

Williamson County Sheriff

TX

94

5

5.3%

25.0%

5.0%

4.3%

0.0%

103

Huntsville Police

AL

353

18

5.1%

0.0%

5.1%

5.3%

0.8%

104

Hidalgo County Sheriff

TX

179

9

5.0%

0.0%

4.0%

5.4%

5.0%

105

Kauai County Police

HI

127

6

4.7%

0.0%

3.7%

5.3%

1.6%

106

Nebraska State Patrol

NE

462

21

4.5%

7.1%

7.2%

3.6%

0.0%

107

Waukegan Police

IL

155

7

4.5%

0.0%

3.4%

5.1%

1.9%

108

Hanover County Sheriff

VA

134

6

4.5%

0.0%

5.0%

4.5%

0.7%

109

Schaumburg Police

IL

137

6

4.4%

0.0%

7.4%

3.9%

0.0%

110

Monterey County Sheriff

CA

166

7

4.2%

0.0%

3.4%

4.5%

1.2%

111

North Dakota Highway Patrol

ND

127

5

3.9%

0.0%

5.0%

4.2%

0.8%

112

Pennsylvania State Police

PA

3,373

132

3.9%

4.7%

6.6%

3.6%

0.8%

113

Virginia State Police

VA

1,789

67

3.7%

0.0%

2.6%

4.0%

0.5%

114

El Dorado County Sheriff

CA

163

6

3.7%

0.0%

0.0%

4.7%

0.0%

115

Kansas Highway Patrol

KS

469

16

3.4%

0.0%

0.0%

4.4%

0.2%

116

New Jersey State Police

NJ

2,652

84

3.2%

0.0%

3.1%

3.2%

0.2%

117

Parsippany Police

NJ

101

3

3.0%

0.0%

0.0%

4.0%

1.0%

118

Iowa State Patrol

IA

451

12

2.7%

0.0%

2.9%

2.7%

0.0%

119

New Mexico State Police

NM

465

12

2.6%

4.8%

2.1%

2.6%

0.9%

120

West Virginia State Police

WV

684

17

2.5%

0.0%

1.8%

2.9%

0.1%

121

Lawrence Police

MA

126

3

2.4%

0.0%

3.8%

2.1%

0.0%

122

Oklahoma Highway Patrol

OK

647

15

2.3%

0.0%

1.7%

2.5%

0.3%

123

Wyoming Highway Patrol

WY

150

3

2.0%

0.0%

0.0%

2.5%

0.0%

124

West Orange Police

NJ

103

2

1.9%

0.0%

0.0%

3.0%

1.0%

125

North Carolina State Highway Patrol

NC

1,289

21

1.6%

0.0%

3.0%

1.5%

0.3%

126

Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol

MS

522

8

1.5%

3.4%

3.5%

1.0%

0.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL[17]

 

90,648

10,682

14.3%

5.6%

9.2%

15.6%

6.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


TECHNICAL APPENDIX

METHODOLOGY

The Population of Law Enforcement Agencies with 100 or More Officers

Sampling was conducted from the population defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the publication entitled, “Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 1997.”  In that report, BJS reported sending surveys to the 968 agencies with 100 or more officers.  Of these 968 agencies, 904 (94%) responded.  A number of the responding agencies were then excluded from further analysis:

Agencies with special geographic jurisdictions such as university campuses, public school districts, transportation systems, parks and recreation facilities, airports, waterways, public housing, or State government buildings are excluded.  Agencies with special enforcement responsibilities such as natural resource and conservation laws, alcohol control laws, or agricultural laws are also excluded (BJS, 1997, p.x).

Finally, one state agency (Hawaii) was excluded from the sample because it primarily performs court-related rather than law enforcement duties.  This process yielded a total of 700 law enforcement agencies with 100 or more officers; these 700 agencies thus represent the population from which the NCWP sample was drawn.

Sampling Details

The specific breakdown of the population of 700 agencies into size and type subgroups is presented in Table 1 below.

Table 1:  Breakdown of the Population (N=700 departments) by Agency Size and Type

 

Agency Size

County Depts.[18]

City Depts.

State Agencies

Total

100-249

88

307

6

401

250-499

60

73

11

144

500

49

74

32

155

Total

197

454

49

700

 

From this population, we sampled departments to be contacted for our survey.   The number of departments to be sampled was computed by calculating the percentage of agency type (e.g., county departments) that is found in each size subgroup (e.g., 100-249 officers).  This percentage was then used to determine how many of the agencies sampled within each agency type should be drawn from each size subgroup.   This strategy suggested that the number of agencies to be sampled within each type and size subgroup should equal those specified in Table 2.  This is the number of agencies (broken down by size and type) that were contacted to participate in the survey.

 

Table 2:  Number of Departments Sampled (N=180) by Agency Size and Type

 

Agency Size

County Depts.

City Depts.

State Agencies

Total

100-249

34

51

4

89

250-499

22

12

7

41

500

19

12

19

50

Total

75

75

30

180

 

Weighting the Data

Once the data was collected, it was weighted so that the data from departments in the sample would accurately reflect data from agencies in the actual population.  For example, the number of women in state agencies was weighted differently from the number of women in city departments because we sampled over half of the state agencies but only about 10% of the city departments.  Table 3 below presents the number of surveys that were actually returned from the sampled agencies:

 

Table 3: Number of Responding Departments (N=126) by Agency Size and Type

 

Agency Size

County Depts.

City Depts.

State Agencies

Total

150-249

21

36

4

61

250-499

14

10

6

30

500

11

8

16

35

Total

46

54

26

126

 

In order to make overall generalizations across agency type for the entire field of law enforcement agencies with 100 or more officers, it was necessary to weight the data.  To do this, we multiplied the raw figures in each cell by a constant representing the proportional size of this cell in the population.  These constants are provided in Table 4 below.

 

Table 4:  Constants for Weighting the Raw Data to Make Comparisons Across Agency Type

 

County Depts.

City Depts.

State Agencies

197/46

454/54

49/26

Note: The numerator represents the total number of agencies in the population and the denominator represents the number of agencies in each category that responded.

 

Using the constants computed above, we were then able to weight the raw data to better reflect their representation within the entire population.  Raw data for law enforcement and civilian respondents were weighted in this way.  However, data for correctional officers was not weighted as it was drawn from a single agency type and therefore proportional to the population of interest.

Summary and Comparative Data

The size of the agencies included in the survey ranged from a high of 12,604 officers to a low of 32.  The mean number of officers for responding departments was thus 719.4 and the median was 246.5.  For a complete ranking of all 126 law enforcement agencies from the highest to lowest percentage of sworn female law enforcement officers, see the Appendix.  Comparative data is also provided for the years 1990 and 1993 based on information collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.[19]

 

 

 



 

[1] The data are based on 126 responses to a survey of 180 state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies with 100 or more sworn officers (see Technical Appendix, P. 17 for a complete discussion of the survey methodology).

[2] For this study, the sworn law enforcement positions have been grouped as follows: Top Command includes Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, Commanders, and Captains, or their equivalent; Supervisory includes Lieutenants and Sergeants, or their equivalent; and Line Operation includes Detectives and Patrol Officers, or their equivalent. 

[3] Timmins, William, and Hainsworth.  “Attracting and Retaining Females in Law Enforcement.”  International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.  33: 197-305.  (1989)

[4] Balkin, Joseph.  “Why Policemen Don’t Like Policewomen,” Journal of Police Science and Administration, p. 16, v 30. (1988)

[5] Balkin, 33.  (1988)

[6] Grennan, Sean A.  “Findings on the Role of Officer Gender in Violent Encounters with Citizens,” Journal of Police Science and Administration. 15: 78-85 (1988).  Sherman, J. Lewis.  “A Psychological View of Women in Policing,” Journal of Police Science and Administration. 1:383-394 (1973).  “Report of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department,” p. 83. (1991).  

[7] Brown, Alden.  “Denouncing the Myth,” Times Record News, Wichita Falls, TX, p.1B, July 26 (1988).  Mederer, J. Helen and Gelles, J. Richard, “Compassion or Control: Intervention in Cases of Wife Abuse,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 4, No. 1, P. 25, March (1989).

[8] O’Reilly, Jane.  “Wife Beating: The Silent Crime,” Time, pp. 23-24 September 5, (1983).

[9] Homant, J. Robert and Kennedy, B. Daniel.  “Police Perceptions of Spouse Abuse: A comparison of Male and Female Officers,” Journal of Criminal Justice 13: 29-47 (1985). 

[10] P. Neidig, H. Russel and A. Seng, “Interspousal Aggression in Law Enforcement Families: A Preliminary Investigation,”  Police Studies. 30-38 (1992). 

 

[11] International City Management Association, “Personnel Practices in Municipal Police Departments” Urban Data Service 5. (1972). 

[12] Susan E. Martin, “Women on the Move?  A Report on the Status of Women in Policing,” Police Foundation Reports (1989). 

 

[13] The 1999 figure of 5.6% women in Top Command is somewhat lower than reported in 1997 and 1998, in which the estimates were 6.5% and 7.5%.  This is likely due to the fact that corrections personnel were included in the 1997 and 1998 sworn data.  In the 1999 survey, however, corrections personnel were analyzed separately.  Because the percentage of women in Top Command is higher for corrections than for sworn personnel, their exclusion would explain why the 1999 figure is lower than previous estimates. 

[14]Support Staff includes all civilian personnel that are non-management and non-supervisory.  Supervisory positions include non-management civilian personnel with supervisory responsibilities equivalent to Sergeant or Lieutenant.  Management positions include any civilian responsible for a division equivalent to a Captain or above.

[15] For the purposes of this report, “corrections officer” refers to sworn and civilian personnel serving in a jail facility for a county or municipal law enforcement agency. 

[16] Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics,” 1990:  Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers, September (1992); “Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics,” (1993): Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers, September (1995).   

                [17] The total percentages are calculated from weighted data (See Technical Appendix – Weighting the Data).

[18] These figures combine both county police departments and county sheriff’s departments, excluding correctional officers and other employees in the county jail.

[19] Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics,” 1990:  Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers, September (1992); “Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics,” (1993): Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers, September (1995).

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