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Gender and Community Policing: Walking the Talk

NCJ Number
Susan L. Miller
Date Published
269 pages
Survey data, interviews with police officers, and fieldwork in a midwestern city that has used community policing for more than a decade formed the basis of an analysis of the similarities and differences in policing styles of male and female police officers and other aspects of policing.
The analysis also focused on the relationships that develop between neighborhood police on foot and patrol officers in squad cars. The research also explored the interactions between neighborhood police offices and community members. Issues included ways police reconcile incompatible images of masculinity and femininity, actions of neighborhood police officers in comparison with those of traditional rapid-response patrol officers, how community police cope with resistance from the rank and file, and how gender and gender-role expectations shape police activities and the evaluation of new skills. Findings suggested the desirability of several policies, including minimum selection criteria for neighborhood police officers, the development of more ways to integrate neighborhood police officers with patrol officers, and the development of ways to make being a community police officer more financially lucrative. Findings also indicated that the structure of community policing takes advantage of skills that have been culturally designated as feminine and therefore undervalued. Findings also suggested that the ultimate goal may be to convince all police officers to follow androgynous models in which they, as professionals, recognize that the ideal repertoire of skills includes a range of both masculine and feminine ones. Notes, index, appended methodological information, and 192 references