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From Research to Reality: Recruiting More Women into the Policing Profession

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This document provides research-based recommendations for police agencies on actions they can take to increase female recruitment and retention in law enforcement careers.


This document addresses the underrepresentation of women in law enforcement careers, pointing out that increasing the number of women would help police departments more accurately reflect the communities they serve as well as increase police legitimacy and trust within those communities. The document also notes that women have higher reporting and clearance rates for rape cases and less use of force when policing. This report describes a research project that reviewed police agencies’ online recruitment materials, holding focus groups with more than 70 women in law enforcement; it implemented updates to law enforcement agency recruiting websites with the goal of increasing female applicant recruitment, evaluated outcomes, and disseminated actionable findings to practicing law enforcement agencies as well as academic outlets. The document provides research-based recommendations for police agencies, with actionable strategies for strengthening recruitment efforts; a guide to inclusive recruiting website content, complete with examples; a job description guidance document, providing immediate steps for police department websites and outreach efforts; an infographic that highlights recommendations from female officers about how to better recruit women into policing jobs; and information about the 30x30 Initiative, which aims to achieve a 30 percent total of women police recruits by the year 2030.