Women Law Enforcement
There has been a continued effort by the police department to hire Americans into the police force without special regard to race, color or gender. This effort has had a milestone achievement throughout history and has helped gap the difference in race and gender that existed in the police force in the 70s and 80s. The affirmative action has been one of the top agendas for all the government departments and branches. The police included. However, there are some contemporary challenges that the force as a whole faces when it comes to recruitment of female law enforces and even challenges that the recruited law enforcers face. These factors will be discussed below together with the causes and possible panacea to them, in an effort to attain the ultimate balanced society.
One of the challenges as outlined by Price, B.R., (1996) is the reception by their male counterparts. He says that the male counterparts will always give the female recruits a cold reception to the best and to the extreme a hostile reception. Women are viewed with a lot of skepticism by their supervisors, their departments and male counterparts despite the pact that they have been in the forces for more than one hundred years serving the American society. It is ironical that the public actually looks at the women law enforces with more empathy and respect than their counterparts. Among the issues of concern raised often by the male police are the lack of emotional fitness of women, fear of telling out the department secrets and fear of exposure incase of secretive work situations. To stop this skepticism, there needs to be further civil education on the role played by the female counterparts and the values of affirmative action should be instilled in the police force and the relevant department. It is only when the police department as a whole is equipped with the relevant information that the attitudes will change, no amount of legal action can change this.
There is also the other challenge that women face within the departments whereby there are some departments of assignments that they are not allowed to attend. For instance they are not allowed into certain special units, seminars or even details. These are more often labeled "forbidden units" where there is a deliberate effort to keep women off them or those who happen to fit into them are harassed so as to compel them to leave. The noticeable units that women are not 'allowed' into are areas such as harbor, mounted and the specialized traffic init or highway. It would be rare to find a police woman ridding a motorcycle along the highway as she checks the traffic flow. To stop this spate of discrimination, there ought to be written codes of conduct and operation manual that gives the women and equitable chance to carry on their duties in whichever part of the police department. The codes of conduct should be able to indicate clearly which would be the repercussion of acting in a discriminatory manner to a female colleague or even denying her the necessary help and aid to carry out the civil duty as assigned. Failure to arrest this trend will make and already cynical women population more cynical to a point of withdrawal from the department by women, a situation that cannot and must not be allowed in the American society.
There is yet another challenge that is noted by The Times of India, (2010) which poses a challenge to women police. This has to do with the selection and posting to the senior positions....
It will be noted that, despite the education levels of the female police, there is a higher likelihood that the most senior individual in any unit or police department will be a man. It has been the tradition and has continued over the decades over. This makes the female police lose self-esteem and confidence in the system. They tend to look at themselves as not worth the bigger posts and no matter what they do they will never get there, or their chances of getting there are limited. It is upon the heads of the police department and the general force to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of the senior posts. There should be a clearly stipulated affirmative ration as to the senior appointments. This is in light of the fact that there are well qualified women just as much as there are men, and there must not be any excuse as to keep them in the lower posts.
The other challenge in the contemporary force is during the recruitment exercise; women are unfairly subjected to the same physical strain as men recruits and are expected to pass just like the male counterparts. This is unfair bearing that the physical stress bearing limit of the male body is higher than most females. This however is disregarded consequently thinning the number of women passing the recruitment test and effectively lesser women in the police force (Police Employment, 2011). In order to curb this, every single state should have a separate recruitment drill and at different times, preferably the female officers to conduct the female recruitment so as to avoid the bias of the male chauvinism.
According to Susan A.K., (2003), there is a substantial sexual harassment of the female police in the U.S. In her research that she conducted in Chicago police departments, she was able to establish that 31.8% of the women in the police force had been sexually harassed in one way or the other at one point of they duty. More disappointing was the fact that only 15.7% of them reported the crime since they felt that nothing would be done (just like it has never been done before). This is a shocking result, despite the fact that there is a mandatory sexual harassment training that exists in Chicago in the police department. The panacea to this can only be a rigorous follow up of the sexual harassment lessons and their application with constant refresher courses and training. There must be established a punitive measure by the concerned supervisors to ensure that the reported sexual harassment cases are dealt with to a logical end and with finality. There should be no cold feet approach to matters of sexual harassment among the police so as to strengthen the women law enforcers. The various police departments throughout the U.S. must learn from the cases of the Chicago police department and empower all the female police officers with the prerequisite knowledge, power, skills and tools to report appropriately any inappropriate behaviors from their male counterparts. As for the office settings, there should be installed the CCTV technology so as to document and store every actions for eventual prosecution. This way there will be fear of harassing the female law enforcers and lowering the prejudice.
In the same research, it was found that there is a wide disparity between the women recruited into the police force with children and those without children. Indeed, 63% of the women recruits in Chicago don't have any children, with the percentage decreasing with the increase in number of children. This is a bias based on the biological endowment and fulfillment of optional matrimonial responsibilities that a woman willingly engages in. It is a yard stick that should never suffice when dealing with civil duties and recruitment into the police departments in particular. There should be a mechanism to ensure women, whether with kids or not, have the ability to be recruited to serve her nation at any levels not only the police force. This is of concern particularly in light of lack of discrimination upon recruitment of their male counterparts on basis of the number of children he'd leaving at home with wife.
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