Why Women Do Not Make Good Police Officers Term Paper

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Women Do Not Make Good Police Officers

Police is an essential unit of society and its function is as important as the functioning of a vital organ in the human body. If one removes this unit then the society will fall apart and become diseased and corrupted beyond imagination. It controls the crime within a society and within a nation. It protects the rights of a normal civilian and gives him security and shelter. This department aims to zoom in to the problem factors of society e.g. drugs, prostitution, thefts, murders etc. And eliminate the people who cause such factors to exist. These factors corrupt a society from within and causes harm to the well being of the general public. The department to prevent domestic violence is called "Police." Hence the proper and efficient functioning of a police department is of unprecedented importance. If one travels back in time, we see that the police department comprised only of the male population. Men were selected and given the authority to control crime. Soon with time and increasing awareness about women and their rights, women were also recruited in this department to prevent crime standing hand in hand with the males.

Sworn women officers have been facing many problems in this male dominated society. Although they are recruited in more numbers than the recent past, they are still underused and their talent is going to waste. "The move to recruit more women was initially prompted by a shortage of suitable male applicants. Women were also recruited because they were better qualified than male applicants" (Prenzler, et al., 1997). Very few women are assigned the patrol task and although that number is increasing, comparatively more women are given non-patrol tasks. Some women tend to perform well as police officers and there have been instances when women police officers like Ken Sanders of the Utah Police Department have been given the officer of the year awards for the helpful efforts (Anonymous, 2003). This type of an observation or result regarding such performances by women is what one calls an exceptional case rather than it being normal. Quite a few factors add on to why women do not perform well as police officers. One of the factors is stated by Linden where he brings it to our attention the fact that women have a much higher attrition rate as compared to men and thus it confines the diversity of their job experiences (Linden, 1983). Women are often underutilized and one of the reasons that can account for this underutilization is the fact that there are limited supervisory posts and this makes the competition severe and promotions are rare. Another fact is that to be eligible for a promotion, one should have adequate experience in field patrolling. As only a minority number of women are assigned field patrolling, it is found that women hardly qualify for promotion and have limited credentials. This too can serve to be a reason why women hardly get to be good police officers. They even lack the incentive and their morale is low and when morale is low then productivity falls down. To them this may seem as a dead end job. Despite the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is a fact there are present "institutionalized barriers" as far as promotion policies are concerned. A certain barrier described by Steinberg was the makeup of the eligibility pool for promotion. In it women who were not given the opportunity to train or were not given assignments are filtered out and are hence ineligible for a promotion (Steinberg, p.21). To have productivity one must be satisfied with their job. Job satisfaction is really important and it seems that women police officers are not very satisfied with their jobs.

As they are constantly being underutilized, they feel that their skills are not being applied or used in the work that they are doing. They do know that they are capable of doing what they have sworn to do but not being given the opportunity to utilize their skills, women police officers find their jobs to be dissatisfactory. Hence they do not really make good police officers. Although to reiterate, this is to speak generally and there have been specific cases in the United States and in third world countries like India where women police officers have performed to be very efficient police officers. As stated earlier, a high productivity results from a high job satisfaction hence the goal should be to increase the job satisfaction. In order to do so it is necessary to increase perceived utilization. This can be achieved when women would have the assurance that they have equal opportunities for special assignments and are utilized more. "Given the attendant results associated with job satisfaction e.g. retention, increased productivity, and reduction of errors, it is obvious that such modifications of personnel assignment and utilization are worthwhile" (Grant, et al., 1990). What would be interesting if men were put under the conditions in which women are and then to study if men are still better police officers. However studies have shown that these are the reasons why women do not prove to be good police officers hence the elimination of such reasons and addressing the cause of these reasons, it would then be probably observed that women are just as efficient and competent as their male counterparts.

Many people oppose the idea of women being recruited in the police department. This is only natural in a male dominated society. They however have no problem in allowing women to be part of the criminal justice team as long as they remain behind the desks doing dispatch and secretarial jobs. Women voiced for equal opportunities during the 1950s and men normally labeled them as "physically weak," "sexually suspect," "unwomanly" and this is only to name a few. Many also considered that having women police officers would endanger the lives of the male members of the police force and the general public. It is observed that such negative behaviors by the male component of the police force has become one of the reasons why women police officers have failed to develop productive and efficient patrol styles. In another study a comparison was done between eighty male and female police officers in Washington D.C. This study also brought out the negative attitude presented by the male officers. It was noted that women and men police officers made the same number of arrest and despite the number was the same; the male police officers had nothing but negative remarks for the female police officers. "In fact, both before and after assignment of women to patrols, male officers rated female officers as 'less competent.'" (Steel, et al., 1989). In some places women police officers are also paid less as compared to the male police officers. This held true for the South Wales Police department where women were being paid less compared to the men for the same amount of work done. This matter was taken up in court and justice was sought for regarding this injustice being done to the women and the sex discrimination being practiced by the higher authorities (Anonymous, 2005). The matter was however settled out of court and the decision was in favor of the women. Under such circumstances where women are paid less than men it is only natural to observe that women do not become good police officers. Incentive is a very important factor that is missing in this area. Increased incentive would only secure high levels of efficiency and productivity.

Thus it is observed that not only have women been underutilized, they probably do not feel comfortable at their job either. They can feel the negative vibe which they get from their male colleagues and hence this affects their productivity…

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