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Gender Differences in Police Officers' Attitudes: Assessing Current Empirical Evidence

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 37 Issue: 5 Dated: September-October 2009 Pages: 512-522
Margarita Poteyeva; Ivan Y. Sun
Date Published
October 2009
11 pages
This study reviewed quantitative studies published after 1990 that focused on attitudinal differences between female and male police officers.
The findings from all the studies reviewed indicate that the enforcement of affirmative action, the integration of police departments, and the implementation of standardized academy and field training over the past three decades have produced a higher degree of attitudinal congruence among police officers, regardless of gender. Thus, the claim that changing the gender composition of law enforcement agencies would significantly transform the face of American law enforcement received limited support from the studies reviewed. This justifies the continued recruitment of more women into police forces. Hiring more women into police organizations alleviates their token status and promotes fuller occupational equality. Moreover, there is some evidence that female officers behave differently from their male counterparts, with policewomen being less likely to use excessive force and engage in misconduct. Suggestions for future research in this area are offered. The study reviewed only research published between 1990 and 2006, because very few studies published before 1990 have empirically examined the effect of gender on officers' job-related attitudes. Only articles published in English in U.S. academic journals were considered. A total of 27 journals were targeted for review. Only multivariate regression studies that took relevant control variables into consideration and used officer gender as an independent or control variable were selected for the review. 3 tables, 3 notes, and 95 references