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Recruiting Female Candidates

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 57 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 30-32,34,36
Dwayne Orrick
Date Published
December 2009
5 pages
This article explains why and how law enforcement agencies should make a special effort to recruit women as sworn officers.
The Uniform Crime Report showed that in 2007, women occupied about 11.8 percent of all sworn positions and 18.3 percent of the positions in the Nation's largest cities. In addition, in 2007, women held 13.7 percent of first-line police supervisory positions and 23.2 percent of the criminal investigative positions, but only 5 percent of the chief executive positions. As research has shown, there is little doubt that women can perform policing responsibilities as well as men, and are often more effective than men in handling tense encounters without the use of force. Women officers tend to be more empathetic with citizens, have better communication skills, and have more affinity for conflict resolution skills than male officers. In order to recruit and retain female officer candidates, law enforcement leaders must address issues of concern to female candidates, such as sexual harassment from male officers and maternity leave. Credibility on these and other issues is more likely to occur if women officers are used in efforts to recruit female officer candidates. Women officers are best able to explain what it is like to work and have a career in a traditionally male-dominated occupation. In addition, in order to find greater numbers of female candidates, departments must focus on areas where they are likely to find women who are interested in nontraditional careers. This can include distributing literature and sponsoring activities at gyms and women's sporting events, as well as female health clinics and grocery stores. Recruiters participating in college job fairs should not limit their efforts to criminal justice graduates, but also focus on those who have majored in physical education, journalism, and sociology.