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Women Police: The Use of Force by and Against Female Officers

NCJ Number
Women & Criminal Justice Volume: 16 Issue: 4 Dated: 2005 Pages: 91-117
Amie M. Schuck; Cara Rabe-Hemp
Date Published
27 pages
In an attempt to replicate and extend prior research on women police officers, this study investigated the use of force by and against women police officers.
The bulk of the study's findings reaffirmed earlier assertions about women officers. The findings suggest that female officers and same-gender female-female officer pairs generally use less force in police-citizen encounters than do their male counterparts. The influence of officer gender remained significant even after considering other potentially perplexing factors including gender differences in the need to use high levels of force and bias associated with extreme scores for a small group of male officers. There was no evidence to support the proposition that citizens used less force against female officers compared to male officers. Overall, the findings support the original assertions that women and men perform policing duties differently and that hiring more women as police officers may help to reduce excessive force in some police departments. Given the importance of policing in today's society and the increased presence and emphasis of women in the traditionally male-dominated occupation of law enforcement, little research exists on women police officers. This study examined the influence of officer's gender on use of force while controlling for potential perplexing factors in a large sample of female and male officers from several police departments. The study also examined the level of citizen force used against women officers in different types of police-citizen encounters, as well as the influence of officer gender on under-predicted policing and the potential for officer or citizen injury in these under-predicted encounters. Tables, references and appendixes A-C