Women in Policing

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Women in Policing
Laura Jones
Grantham University

Abstract Women have worked within our law enforcement system for over one hundred and seventy years. This paper examines the history and current status of women in policing and the challenges they have faced. History of women in policing will be presented from the first instances of women being hired as law enforcement to their current status. Research information indicates that, despite high levels of sexual harassment and discrimination, women police officers perform as well as their male peers although their numbers are small within their departments.

This paper will denote a walkthrough of the history of women in policing. According to our reading the history of women working in law enforcement has been in effect for more than 100 years, since 1845 when New York City hired its first female police officer. In 1888 Massachusetts and New York both passed legislation to hire woman officers to take care of female prisoners. In the 1900’s women were hired but they had to have certain criteria such as height, weight, strength and agility testing to prove they were just as capable as their male coworkers. It was in 1968 when Indianapolis assigned the first women officers to patrol as equals to men. In 1994 and 1995 the first two women offices were appointed as chief of police in Portland and Atlanta. (Shusta, Levine, Wong, Olson, & Harris, 2011). National studies continually find discrimination and sexual harassment are factors in police departments which supervisors and commanders not only tolerate by others, but also may be perpetrators themselves. Hostile work environments and discrimination have been known to keep women from law enforcement agencies in significant numbers and also hinders them from being promoted up the ranks to policy-making positions, thus not enabling for a new style of community...
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