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Women's Representation and Status in Law Enforcement: Does CALEA Involvement Make a Difference?

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 16 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2005 Pages: 391-411
David Burlingame; Agnes L. Baro
Date Published
December 2005
21 pages
This study examined whether involvement in the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation process had any significant positive effect on the representation of sworn women in large police agencies at all levels and on the representation of women of color.
After almost 30 years and after much litigation, the representation of women in law enforcement has increased by only one-half of 1 percent per year. However, there is a substantial amount of research literature in support of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies’ (CALEA) affirmative action standards and of policies directed toward increasing female representation within police departments. To receive CALEA accreditation, an agency whose sworn workforce is not in approximate proportion to the ethnic and gender makeup of the available workforce in the community it serves must have an equal opportunity plan and an affirmative action recruitment plan. This study examined to what effect, if any, these mandatory standards have on the percentages of sworn women at the line, supervisory, and command levels. It assessed the effectiveness of the standards in terms of the percentages of officers who are women of color. The findings suggest that there are significant differences between CALEA and non-CALEA agencies. Involvement in the CALEA accreditation process appears to encourage and facilitate the recruitment and promotion of women at least in large police agencies. Tables, references