The latest issue of Time magazine (Nov. 16, 2015, p.25) has a short article discussing statistics that suggest female officers resort to violence when confronting the public less often than male officers.
For example: “A 2002 study by the National Center for Women & Policing…found that women accounted for only 5% of excessive-force complaints in seven major cities, despite making up almost 13% of police personnel.”
There are more anecdotal stories supporting this possibility. They suggest women overall resort to communication first, and violence last. As a criminal defense attorney who handles cases that often have components of violence or hostil communication coming from police officers, it would certainly help my clients more if they did not have to deal with complaints of police excessive force alongside other criminal charges.
The article talks about how recruitment materials emphasize shootouts and car chases, and not communication skills. That’s a shame. Most of the time, officers need to communicate rather than shoot or chase. Life is not an action movie, and new police officers should not be donning their uniforms excited about their first available chance to open fire at someone. That type of recruitment sends the wrong message. “To Serve and Protect” should mean more than what it seems to currently.
I wonder: WHY aren’t there more female police officers? We SHOULD have gender parity in this important sector of public life, as it would serve all of society better. I think more efforts should be made to filling in the ranks of police forces with more females–and it might just decrease tensions in communities around the nation, fulfill the promise of equality for women in society, and emphasize communication over physical confrontation overall. It is an idea whose time has come.