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Female Officers and the Ethnic of Care: Does Officer Gender Impact Police Behaviors?

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 36 Issue: 5 Dated: September/October 2008 Pages: 426-434
Cara E. Rabe-Hemp
Date Published
September 2008
9 pages
The purpose of this study was to explore the ways in which gender impacts how police officers to their job, while also exploring the context of everyday police work.
The findings provide mixed support for the general hypothesis of gender-specific responses. Consistent with previous literature, the research suggests that women were much less likely than men to use extreme controlling behavior, such as threats, physical restraints, searches, and arrest. The findings did not support the hypothesis that women were more likely than men to use supporting behaviors in citizen encounters. The results suggest that community policing officers, female officers, and most importantly, female community officers were all associated with fewer supporting behaviors than male patrol officers. Women have been in policing since the 1880s, but only in the past 40 years have researchers started to analyze gender differences in police behaviors. Most of the empirical literature on gender and policing has assessed gender differences in arrest levels and police use of force. Using data from systematic social observations of police-citizen encounters in St. Petersburg, FL and Indianapolis, IN, this study replicates past analyses of gender differences in police utilization of controlling and supporting behaviors, as well as extending the analyses by assessing the possible impact of intervening situational and organizational characteristics, determining under what conditions female officers utilize different behaviors from their male counterparts. Tables, notes, and references