Article

The Decision to Become a Police Officer in a Legitimacy Crisis

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Abstract

This study examines how individuals make the decision to become police officers in the context of a police legitimacy crisis and how men and women’s decision-making processes may be different. In-depth interviews were conducted with 42 criminal justice college students who want to become police officers. Prospective police officers anticipated facing challenges as a direct result of the current climate surrounding American policing, which is characterized by decreased police legitimacy. On top of this, women anticipated facing more challenges than male officers due to their gender and underrepresentation in police work. However, women were uniquely motivated to enter policing to overcome gender-specific challenges and felt that they offered special skills that would provide solutions to the police legitimacy crisis. The paper draws implications for how agencies can identify more quality candidates and increase their representation of women.

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... Third, young viewers exhibit the potential to develop an interest in (or distaste for) policing careers, which could one day manifest in a job application. For example, Todak (2017) observed that one-third of her sample of adults with an interest in a policing career dreamed of becoming a police officer since childhood. From this perspective, policing media could impact young viewers' attitudes, interactions, and career trajectories. ...
... Stereotypes regarding aggression can therefore create a complex dynamic for women working within this historically maledominated profession. Consistent with this dynamic, past research has observed that female applicants experience higher failure rates for physical testing than their male counterparts (Birzer & Craig, 1996) and do more to prepare for a job in policing (Todak, 2017). Once on the job, however, past research has found that female officers engage in less force than their male counterparts (Schuck & Rabe-Hemp, 2005). ...
... Police agencies have historically drawn upon applicants from specific groups with pre-existing interests in policing careers, including the military, other law enforcement personnel, and university students, particularly from criminal justice backgrounds (Clinkinbeard et al., 2020;Courtright & Mackey, 2004;Morrow et al., 2020;Stringer & Murphy, 2020;Todak, 2017). Such applicants, however, have exhibited much stagnancy in their characteristics. ...
Article
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Fictional media offers a conduit by which criminal justice actors, organizations, and institutions are presented, interpreted, and contested. As part of this article, I explore the depiction of policing themes in Disney’s 2016 film Zootopia, an animated movie that showcases the work of Officer Judy Hopps from the Zootopia Police Department. Specifically, I discuss the film’s representation of research regarding police appearance, police stereotypes, police representation, and police recruiting. By identifying parallels between policing as depicted in Zootopia and policing as reflected in research, I interrogate the intersections between the performance of police in media and the work of police in reality. I conclude by highlighting the potential implications of fictional police representation for young audiences and their perceptions of, and future engagement with, police.
... When recruiting, police agencies have historically drawn from specific groups with pre-existing interests in policing careers, including the military, other law enforcement personnel, and university students (particularly those in criminal justice programmes) (e.g. Courtright and Mackey, 2004;Gray, 2011;Todak, 2017;Clinkinbeard et al., 2020;Morrow et al., 2020;Stringer and Murphy, 2020). However, the lack of diversity among police applicants, most of whom are White men, has generated much concern and debate. ...
... For such reasons, understanding the gendered and racialized dynamics of police recruiting has become a focus of much research in this domain (e.g. Jordan et al., 2009;Cordner and Cordner, 2011;Wilson et al., 2013;Linos et al., 2017;Todak, 2017;Linos, 2018;Clinkinbeard et al., 2020). ...
... Similar to the stagnancy among applicant demographics has been the stagnancy among applicant motivations. The basic motivations for pursuing policing careers have remained largely consistent over time: applicants cite excitement, job security, fighting crime, the prestige of the profession, and the opportunity to help people as reasons for their interest in policing careers (Lester, 1983;Foley et al., 2008;Todak, 2017). At more nuanced levels, research has also found that having friends or family in law enforcement can increase one's interest in a policing career (Gibbs et al., 2020), as can identifying as Republican (Morrow et al., 2020) and holding positive attitudes toward police (Vermeer et al., 2020), among other variables. ...
Article
Police continue to cite struggles of attracting applicants to their agencies. One means by which police attempt to attract applicants is via their recruitment videos. As part of the present research, I employ content analysis to descriptively assess the material contained within a large sample of recruitment videos from police agencies across the United States (N = 567). Trained coders reviewed each video and coded them for an array of different variables, including video characteristics, officer representation, informational content, and behavioral content. The analyses reveal that in addition to including some technical information about the job, many videos also feature high-speed driving, the use of firearms, the demonstration of canine as well as special weapons and tactics units, and an emphasis on men, masculinity, and physicality. Although many videos still highlight some community-oriented behaviors, such behaviors are often less salient than the former. By cataloging recruitment videos, I both identify and interrogate the behaviors highlighted by police as part of their recruiting efforts and discuss the associated implications for people’s potential interest in policing careers.
... Elsewhere, in ample research, men and women may have similar reasons for entering law enforcement, which may be altruistic (e.g., desire to help others), practical and financial (e.g., pay and benefits, job security, availability of alternative career option), perceptive or imaginary nature of policing (e.g., crimefighting, adventure, excitement, fulfillment), esprit de corps (e.g., pride, occupational prestige, feeling good about the job) and influences of others (e.g., family and friends) (see, e.g., Ermer, 1978;Foley et al., 2008;Lester, 1983;Kim & Merlo, 2010;Moon & Hwang, 2004;Raganella & White, 2004;Tarng et al., 2001;White et al., 2010). For female officers, particularly influential factors include "opportunity to help others," "pay and benefits" and "job security" (Raganella & White, 2004;Todak, 2017); they may place more emphasis on service aspects of police work (Lester, 1983); and a lack of other job alternatives has also been identified as a strong reason for women joining the police (Foley et al., 2008). ...
... In New York, the US city, for example, policing was generally viewed as an honorable, respected and "widely sought-after profession" (Raganella & White, 2004). Earlier research found that women, as men, might prioritize social and spiritual capital motives-pride, fulfillment, personal challenge and opportunities for advancement-when making career decisions (see Bridges, 1989); more recently, US women were uniquely motivated to become police officers because of challenges in policing (Todak, 2017). In Korea, a different social context, intrinsic quality of police work (adventure and excitement) and positive image of the job were also commonly cited reasons for women entering law enforcement (Kim & Merlo, 2010;Moon & Hwang, 2004). ...
... In today's socio-political climate in China, police legitimacy or malpractice is hardly challenged (cf. Todak, 2017). The People's Police have generally sustained a positive image, as N-F-1, a police station nei-qin, remarked, "being a police officer, you receive admiration and respect from your relatives, friends, neighbours … ." ...
Article
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This article presents a qualitative study that examines the reasons why women want to be a police officer in the mainland of the People’s Republic of China. It aims to explore females’ entry into the police organization, policewomen’s occupational roles and positions, the perceived nature of policing and, to a lesser extent, local police culture. The article argues that China does not need a creative strategy to attract females to join the police. Instead, if structural changes are not possible for now, it needs to change mindset, to scrap the quota that restricts women’s entry and allow female officers more choices and to be more actively engaged in mainstream policing if they so wish. Through the case study, the article accentuates variations in different social environments in comparative criminal justice studies and gender policing in particular. It thus also promotes Southern criminology and Southern Theory for contributions to knowledge production.
... Similarly, in federal agencies like the FBI (17%) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (7%), women remain underrepresented (Office of the Inspector General, 2018). Research has started to unpack what might attract women to policing (e.g., Clinkinbeard et al., , 2021Todak, 2017); however, women who enter policing are often forced to assimilate to the culture as it exists which means we are not experiencing all benefits women have to offer (Workman-Stark, 2017). ...
... I think sometimes women still have that stereotype that if you want to be a police officer, that means you have to be, you know, like tomboyish or, you know …. (Kristin, Police Seargeant, 4/14/2021) Research on high school and college students indicates young women have concerns about gender as a barrier to a policing career Lord & Friday, 2003;Rossler et al., 2020;Todak, 2017). We suggest the culture of masculinity associated with policing contributes to these perceptions of gender as a barrier. ...
... Although many of the motives were similar, we found female officers were more concerned men about perceived gender-related barriers related to the physicality of the work, being taken seriously, and discrimination. These findings align with other research that found college students had similar fears related to gaining respect from the public and how their physical statures may disadvantage them on the job (Lord & Friday, 2003;Todak, 2017). These findings also point to the importance of broader stereotypes about gender and policing. ...
Chapter
Although women have been “allowed” into policing, we must acknowledge that they are not fully integrated until they are adequately represented at all levels. Women need to be able to do their job without harassment, have more power in decisions about health and family, and stop feeling like they must work twice as hard as men to earn the same respect. In this chapter, we argue the low proportion of women in policing is less about women and more a symptom of the culture and organizational structure that defines policing. We argue that police departments need to examine and address issues surrounding value and identity fit between the current culture and image of policing and those they are trying to attract. We believe that cultural change is necessary to bring more women into policing but also that women’s movement toward equity will contribute positively to cultural change.
... Studies are beginning to leverage the procedural justice framework to explain why fewer people may be less willing to become police officers (Morrow, et al., 2020;Todak, 2017). On a broad level, procedural justice theorists argue that if people believe that the police treat them fairly, they will have more positive perceptions of the legitimacy of the law and legal system SOCIAL MEDIA AND INTEREST IN BECOMING A POLICE OFFICER 5 (Fagan & Tyler, 2005;Sunshine & Tyler, 2003). ...
... Researchers have speculated that the legitimacy crisis is the main cause for the decrease in police officer applicants (Morrow et al., 2020;PERF, 2019). A qualitative study sampling criminology and criminal justice students interested in policing careers asked the students about their expectations of becoming police officers during the current legitimacy crisis (Todak, 2017). Many of the students voiced that they were afraid of making mistakes as police officers and acknowledged that they may face increased difficulty and criticism by choosing that profession (Todak, 2017). ...
... A qualitative study sampling criminology and criminal justice students interested in policing careers asked the students about their expectations of becoming police officers during the current legitimacy crisis (Todak, 2017). Many of the students voiced that they were afraid of making mistakes as police officers and acknowledged that they may face increased difficulty and criticism by choosing that profession (Todak, 2017). The results from that study indicated that prospective police applicants consider the public mistrust and scrutiny of police in their decisions of whether they want to become police officers. ...
Article
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Police departments are becoming increasingly homogenous as they struggle to recruit demographically diverse officers with desirable characteristics. Youths’ exposure to police brutality on social media may decrease their perceptions of police and interest in policing careers. Despite adolescents being the future pool of police applicants, social media’s relation to adolescents’ perceptions of police is understudied. Utilizing a stratified sampling approach to approximate representation of the U.S., this study analyzed how youths’ exposure to police content on social media was related to trust in the police and interest in police careers. The findings indicated that the more youth were exposed to negative social media on policing, the poorer they viewed police legitimacy, and the less they were willing to enter policing. Police legitimacy partially mediated the relation between adolescents’ exposure to social media content about police and their interest in policing careers. Implications for research, policy, and police behavior are discussed.
... Additional research has both reinforced initial findings (e.g., helping others as top motivation) and highlighted other motives as important, particularly for women (e.g., adventure/ excitement, witnessing, or interacting with female officers; Ridgeway et al., 2008;Seklecki & Paynich, 2007;Todak, 2017). yet, the policing motives and gender picture is not complete. ...
... Research thus far has been limited by small, single-agency, or singlegender samples, restricting comparisons. Finally, some of the motives that have been illuminated in qualitative work (e.g., Todak, 2017) have yet to be explored on a larger scale. ...
... An emerging area regarding recruitment is concerns about career entry (Cambareri & kuhns, 2018;Lord & Friday, 2003;Rossler et al., 2020;Todak, 2017). Literature on motivation emphasizes that behavior is inspired by two sides of the motivational coin: (a) hopes and expectations and (b) fears or concerns 1 (Markus & Nurius, 1986). ...
... A diverse and representative police force is necessary in order to increase police officers' approachability and relationship with the community (Alderden et al., 2017). This has become particularly important given the vast number of recent cases of wrongful deaths that has brought to light the importance of police legitimacy (Kirk & Papachristos, 2011;Todak, 2017). The highprofile deaths of Freddy Grey, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and more recently Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, to name a few, has eroded the idea of legitimacy and trust in police in many communities, particularly amongst racial/ethnic minorities and other marginalized populations. ...
... While recruitment is arguably an important factor, there are other perceived obstacles that may deter women from pursuing a career as a police officer. Namely, gendered perceptions, such as physical capability (Batton & Wright, 2018;Rabe-Hemp, 2008b;Schuck, 2014), perceptions of the profession (Graziano, 2019;Todak, 2017), and larger social issues such as the sociopolitical climate surrounding policing as an institution (Graziano, 2019). ...
... Police use of force and the deaths of individuals, such as Eric Garner and George Floyd, have halted society's trust in police officers and may affect depatments' ability to hire both women and men in policing. Todak (2017) interviewed students interested in pursuing a career in policing and found a correlation between the likelihood of wanting to become a police officer and general perceptions of police officers. Police officers are often perceived negatively due to media coverage and consumption (Callanan & Rosenberger, 2011;Graziano, 2019). ...
Article
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Law enforcement is still considered a male dominated occupation resulting in the underrepresentation of women in sworn personnel positions. While it is critical for police departments to have a more representative police force, there is a lack of research on the factors that affect the likelihood of women entering policing. Past studies suggest that men and women have similar reasons for joining policing. However, research on the factors that deter potential candidates from pursuing this career path is limited. This paper examines factors that may affect the likelihood of women pursuing a career in policing. We rely on data collected from a sample of undergraduate students enrolled in criminal justice courses (n = 421). Our results show that, relative to men, women are less likely to be interested in pursuing a career as a police officer. However, more than half of the women in our sample reported interest in pursuing a career in policing. We find that for men and women, the likelihood for pursuing a career in policing was affected by a number of personal characteristics and the current socio-political climate. While a notable limitation of our study is its limited generalizability, overall, our findings offer some promise for the potential of representative policing.
... Additional research has both reinforced initial findings (e.g., helping others as top motivation) and highlighted other motives as important, particularly for women (e.g., adventure/ excitement, witnessing, or interacting with female officers; Ridgeway et al., 2008;Seklecki & Paynich, 2007;Todak, 2017). yet, the policing motives and gender picture is not complete. ...
... Research thus far has been limited by small, single-agency, or singlegender samples, restricting comparisons. Finally, some of the motives that have been illuminated in qualitative work (e.g., Todak, 2017) have yet to be explored on a larger scale. ...
... An emerging area regarding recruitment is concerns about career entry (Cambareri & kuhns, 2018;Lord & Friday, 2003;Rossler et al., 2020;Todak, 2017). Literature on motivation emphasizes that behavior is inspired by two sides of the motivational coin: (a) hopes and expectations and (b) fears or concerns 1 (Markus & Nurius, 1986). ...
Article
As police agencies in the United States suffer declining applications and struggle to recruit women, the National Institute of Justice has identified workforce development as a priority research area. To recruit more effectively, we must understand what attracts people to policing and what deters them. We surveyed officers in two Midwestern police departments ( n = 832) about entry motivations and concerns and examined gender differences. Serve/protect motivations were most important for men and women, though women rated the category significantly higher. Women and non-White officers rated legacy motives higher than did males and White officers. Women reported more concerns overall and scored higher on job demands and acceptance concerns; officers of color also reported more acceptance concerns than White officers. The largest gender differences were associated with gender-related obstacles and stereotypes (e.g., discrimination; being taken seriously; physical demands), indicating recruitment reform necessarily includes improving systemic issues.
... Early research on the topic found that some of the key motivators for individuals pursuing a career in policing were the opportunity to help individuals, job security, and the adventurous nature of the job (Cumming, Cumming, & Edell, 1965;Lester, 1983;McNamara, 1967;Meagher & Yentes, 1986;Van Maanen, 1973). More recently, Raganella and White (2004) found that the opportunity to help people was the highest-ranking motivational factor among a sample of 278 academy recruits in the New York City Police Department, a finding that continues to showcase robustness in the research (California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, 2006;Foley, Guarneri, & Kelly, 2008;Ridgeway et al., 2008;Todak, 2017;White, Cooper, Saunders, & Raganella, 2010). Research also continues to suggest that excitement of the job and job security significantly motivated individuals to pursue a career in policing (California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, 2006; Raganella & White, 2004;Todak, 2017;White et al., 2010;Yim. ...
... More recently, Raganella and White (2004) found that the opportunity to help people was the highest-ranking motivational factor among a sample of 278 academy recruits in the New York City Police Department, a finding that continues to showcase robustness in the research (California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, 2006;Foley, Guarneri, & Kelly, 2008;Ridgeway et al., 2008;Todak, 2017;White, Cooper, Saunders, & Raganella, 2010). Research also continues to suggest that excitement of the job and job security significantly motivated individuals to pursue a career in policing (California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, 2006; Raganella & White, 2004;Todak, 2017;White et al., 2010;Yim. 2009). ...
... Conversely, Todak (2017) exclusively relied on a sample of college students in the post-Ferguson era who wanted to become police officers. Using 42 in-depth interviews with criminal justice college students, Todak (2017) found that students had a desire (or were motivated) to become a police officer in order to prove that police officers are good people, despite being aware of the negative publicity that often surrounds the police profession. Similarly, Todak, Huff, and James (2018) found that racial and ethnic minorities who were interested in law enforcement careers post-Ferguson were driven by a desire to repair relationships between police and marginalized communities (including minority and immigrant communities). ...
Article
The process-based model of regulation has become a dominant framework for understanding why people obey the law. Grounded in past and present research, the current study explores how the process-based model of regulation may explain motivational differences for entering the police profession in the post-Ferguson time era: a time period in which police agencies are expressing increased difficulties recruiting and hiring new officers. Some commentators have attributed these challenges to the heightened levels of public and media scrutiny. Considering the hiring challenges faced by law enforcement agencies, the current study investigates whether students' (i.e. prospective police officers) motivation to enter the police profession is influenced by the procedurally just treatment of individuals by the police. Using a sample of college students from two universities, the findings provide support for the aforementioned inquiry. The implications of these findings are contextualized against the backdrop of the Ferguson Effect, procedural justice, and hiring challenges in the police profession.
... Although many departments have removed "masculine language and instruction," signs of the masculine work culture remain prevalent (Martin & Jurik, 1996). Particularly, testing, hiring, and training processes are designed to remove those who do not meet the stereotypical image of middle-class, white male (Todak, 2017). For example, the physical fitness test, a hallmark of the application process, often has gendered outcomes which further reinforce the masculine nature of the job, despite little evidence that it predicts success (Schulze, 2012). ...
... They found that although some motives had moved up or down in importance over time, neither survey found major differences by race or gender. In addition to helping motives, other research has also identified job security and excitement of the job as important for women (Seklecki & Paynich, 2007;Todak, 2017). ...
... The primary takeaway from this research is that there are more similarities than differences when men and women are asked why they joined the force. It is important to note that these investigations focus primarily on academy recruits or officers who are already on the job (see for exception ;Todak, 2017). These samples include men and women who wanted to join and who were hired. ...
Article
National Institute of Justice’s Policing Research Plan (2017–2022) highlights the need to understand factors that attract diverse candidates. We explored whether college students had ever considered policing and found men were significantly more likely than women to contemplate policing careers. Further, we found higher levels of masculinity were associated with greater odds of policing aspirations; the relationship between gender and aspirations was fully mediated by masculine self-concept. Although men typically reported higher masculinity scores, within-gender analyses indicated that masculinity was important for both men and women. Our findings suggest the continued association of masculinity with policing may undercut efforts to recruit a representative workforce.
... In other words, the multifarious nature of the Ferguson Effect is still not completely understood in all of its forms, which research must address . Second, research examining the motivational factors for becoming a police officer is typically limited to altruistic and practical antecedents (e.g. the opportunity to help others, job benefits, and security), and how such antecedents vary by gender and race/ ethnicity (Raganella & White, 2004;Todak, 2017;White, Cooper, Saunders, & Raganella, 2010). Absent from the police-motivation research is discussion about how high-profile deadly force incidents and related scrutiny affect college students' motivation to enter a career in policing. ...
... The findings revealed homogeneity between samples; in other words, the opportunity to help people was the most important motivator for becoming a police officer (Foley et al., 2008). In fact, the opportunity to help others is one of the most consistent findings among current research examining motivation for entering the police profession (see California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, 2006; Raganella & White, 2004;Ridgeway et al., 2008;Todak, 2017;Yim, 2009). Additionally, Foley and colleagues' (2008) comparative cohort study found that both samples ranked job security and crime fighting among the top five motivational factors (Foley et al., 2008). ...
... The antecedents for becoming a police officer extend beyond the opportunity to help others. Studies have found that job security and crime fighting are important motivational factors, as well as the excitement of the job and job benefits (California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, 2006; Raganella & White, 2004;Todak, 2017;White et al., 2010;Yim, 2009). Research has also found that the desire to become a police officer is related to occupational prestige. ...
Article
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The current study examines the impact of the Ferguson Effect and related public scrutiny on college students’ motivation to become police officers. Using data from 654 students located at two US universities with over 20,000 students, the results indicate that students’ who perceived that officer motivation and dangerousness has been affected by negative media scrutiny had significantly higher log-odds of strongly agreeing that such scrutiny has negatively impacted their trajectory to work in the police profession and had higher log-odds of strongly agreeing that it has made them apprehensive about applying for police positions in comparison to the reference category. The current study highlights how the negative attention directed towards law enforcement is adversely influencing college students’ motivation to enter the police profession. Police departments must make a concerted effort to mitigate such negative scrutiny in order to ensure a strong candidate pool for prospective police officers.
... American officers went even further by indicating that there was now a strong culture where police officers were increasingly being demonised. Following the news and social media coverage of incidents like Ferguson, many felt that police legitimacy was increasingly being questioned (Maguire et al. 2017, Todak 2017): ...
... In turn, this had changed the nature of their police work toward greater engagement in digital forms of policing (Patton et al. 2017). While the focus on online gang culture and surveillance of social media was not as prominent in Scotland, officers there were clearly hostile towards the increasingly common practice among youths to film police behaviour on mobile phones and post videos online for public scrutiny (Todak 2017). There was also a feeling among both sets of officers that filming police practices had undermined their legitimacy and led to greater resistance to authority. ...
... There was also a feeling among both sets of officers that filming police practices had undermined their legitimacy and led to greater resistance to authority. This, in turn, had escalated risks to officers, according to them (Todak 2017. In reality, these perceptions could arguably represent a deep resistance towards transparency and public accountability on the part of officers on both sides of the Atlantic. ...
Article
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Against the complex backdrop of a post-modern era, characterised by a renewed emphasis on public accountability, oppositional social and political movements, it has been argued that traditional agents of social control have increasingly begun to experience a sense of disempowerment. Nowhere has this been more apparent than within the context of policing, where the increased influence of the mass media, social media, and newly empowered groups has led to an apparent legitimacy crisis on both sides of the Atlantic. To better understand officers' views, attitudes, and perspectives about the changing landscape of policing, this paper reports on insights from a comparative study involving participant observation in two counties in a Southern State in the United States of America and three inner-city areas in Scotland. The observations were paired with in-depth semi-structured interviews with 18 American and 22 Scottish officers. The data suggest that officers on both sides of the Atlantic are hostile towards the increasing influence of new forms of media and digital activism. Many officers also expressed concern for declining public cooperation and perceived there to have been a general diminution of police authority and enforcement tactics. Finally, there was a general feeling of reduced officer self-legitimacy among the participants but an increased awareness of procedural justice and alternative (and more covert) enforcement strategies. The implications from these findings are discussed in terms of changing perceptions of justice, legitimacy, social ideology, and the proposed consequences for rights-based policing in the 21st Century.
... In addition to the nature of the job itself, both theories of career compromises (Gottfredson 1981(Gottfredson , 1996 and the dual-channel model of career choice (Jaskiewicz et al. 2016) indicate that the occupational context will play a role in career elimination. While those who are pursuing careers in policing acknowledge the importance of diversity in policing (Todak 2017) and there are significant efforts to diversify police agencies (Ray et al. 2017), there is considerable variability in whether agencies have been successful in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce (Jordan et al. 2009). Only one in five law enforcement agencies have been found to actively partake in the targeted recruitment of female and minority individuals (Jordan et al. 2009). ...
... This finding is reflected in prior research where women reported their physical stature as a disadvantage to their ability to successfully act as police officers (Todak 2017, Rossler et al. 2020. Analysis of our qualitative data echoed the results of our empirical analysis and prior research. ...
Article
Occupational choice involves both attracting and repelling forces. The changing nature of police work and public scrutiny surrounding officers’ participation in incidents involving racial bias and excessive force have resulted in shifting perceptions of the profession among the general public, serving as forces that move people away from the occupation. While much recent research focuses on motivating and attracting forces, it is equally important to address attributes that are implicated in keeping potential candidates from considering policing as a viable career choice, given rising rates of attrition and lack of new recruits. Utilising a sample of undergraduate criminal justice majors (N = 152), a logistic regression indicated gender, race/ethnicity, need for power, and meaningful work act as significant predictors for eliminating policing as a career choice. Analysis of qualitative responses further supports our results, as well as provides additional insight into participants’ decision to exclude policing as a career choice. Job attributes (e.g. dangerous conditions, bad hours), lack of fit, and poor occupational image were identified as key themes for vocational choice elimination. Findings have implications for the recruitment and retention of law enforcement personnel, as well as efforts to increase diversity within policing agencies.
... Over the past few decades, police agencies worldwide have increasingly found themselves amid legitimacy crises (see, e.g. Todak, 2017;Wong, 2004). In the United States and Canada, this is starkly connected to long-standing tensions between police and the communities they serve (Epstein, 2021;White and Fradella, 2016). ...
... In the United States and Canada, this is starkly connected to long-standing tensions between police and the communities they serve (Epstein, 2021;White and Fradella, 2016). In fact, eroding police legitimacy was a key motivation behind forming the 2015 President's Task Force on 21st-Century Policing in the United States (Todak, 2017). Unfortunately, police organizations are left to invest in policies and programs that boost public trust in the police (thereby increasing police legitimacy) while also managing declining budgets due to a concurrent austerity crisis. ...
Article
Police search and rescue (SAR) teams are crucial players in resolving missing person cases. Resultantly, police employ a host of training for SAR members in collaboration with institutions, organizations, and groups. Such training, however, has not been studied. This warrants attention as, in a time of police legitimacy crises and austerity policing, appropriate and quality police training for effective, efficient practices is imperative. Therefore, we examined the training needs and offerings for police SAR personnel, and their impact on SAR operations and work, through thematic analysis of interviews with 52 police SAR members from 17 agencies across Canada. Findings suggest there are no homogeneous, structured, or standardized training offerings for police SAR personnel. Instead, training varies within and across agencies and regions, and between officers and roles, as it is commonly based upon anecdotal experiences and in-house developed ‘best practices.’ We discuss the implications of these findings for police SAR operations and work.
... However, there is no compelling evidence that officers' working environment became any more or less dangerous than it was before Ferguson (Maguire et al., 2017;Shjarback & Maguire, 2021;Sierra-Arévalo & Nix, 2020). However, some evidence suggests that college students became more apprehensive about a career in law enforcement after Ferguson (Morrow et al., 2019;Todak, 2017). Historically, these crises have been relatively short-lived without documented substantial increases in police turnover (Rhodes & Tyler, 2019). ...
... Yet, the impact of the socio-political climate on police recruitment remains unclear. While colleagues (2019, 2020) provide evidence of college students being more reticent to become police officers post-Ferguson (see also Todak, 2017), Rhodes and Tyler (2019) found no evidence of a post-Ferguson decrease in police applicants in one major metropolitan police department. ...
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Several of the largest U.S. police departments reported a sharp increase in officer resignations following massive public protests directed at policing in the summer of 2020. Yet, to date, no study has rigorously assessed the impact of the George Floyd protests on police resignations. We fill this void using 60 months of employment data from a large police department in the western US. Bayesian structural time-series modeling shows that voluntary resignations increased by 279% relative to the synthetic control, and the model predicts that resignations will continue at an elevated level. However, retirements and involuntary separations were not significantly affected during the study period. A retention crisis may diminish police departments' operational capacity to carry out their expected responsibilities. Criminal justice stakeholders must be prepared to confront workforce decline and increased voluntary turnover. Proactive efforts to improve organizational justice for sworn personnel can moderate officer perceptions of public hostility.
... However, there is no compelling evidence that officers' working environment became any more or less dangerous than it was before Ferguson (Maguire et al., 2017;Shjarback & Maguire, 2021;Sierra-Arévalo & Nix, 2020). However, some evidence suggests that college students became more apprehensive about a career in law enforcement after Ferguson (Morrow et al., 2019;Todak, 2017). Historically, these crises have been relatively short-lived without documented substantial increases in police turnover. ...
... Yet, the impact of the sociopolitical climate on police recruitment remains unclear. While Morrow and colleagues (2019, 2020) provide evidence of college students being more reticent to become police officers post-Ferguson (see also Todak, 2017), Rhodes and Tyler (2019) found no evidence of a post-Ferguson decrease in police applicants in one major metropolitan police department. While empirical research on police recruitment is scant, empirical research on police turnover is even more lacking. ...
Article
Several of the largest U.S. police departments reported a sharp increase in officer resignations following massive public protests directed at policing in the summer of 2020. Yet, to date, no study has rigorously assessed the impact of the George Floyd protests on police resignations. We fill this void using 60 months of employment data from a large police department in the western United States. Bayesian structural time‐series modeling shows that voluntary resignations increased by 279% relative to the synthetic control, and the model predicts that resignations will continue at an elevated level. However, retirements and involuntary separations were not significantly affected during the study period. A retention crisis may diminish police departments’ operational capacity to carry out their expected responsibilities. Criminal justice stakeholders must be prepared to confront workforce decline and increased voluntary turnover. Proactive efforts to improve organizational justice for sworn personnel can moderate officer perceptions of public hostility.
... Such characteristics may include career motivations, attitudes, occupational histories, and past work reactions. Although a sizable number of studies investigate these factors in the policing literature (e.g., Elntib & Milincic, 2021;Raganella & White, 2004;Sanders, 2008;Todak, 2017), the same inquiries are not currently applied in the correctional officer literature. This project seeks to begin to fill that void. ...
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Despite the longstanding issues within the correctional officer occupation (e.g., high turnover, absenteeism), decades of research have tended to focus solely on the negative consequences of correctional officer work, rather than on the unique personal characteristics of the officers themselves. This omission is surprising as it is highly probable that each person experiences correctional work differently, with variation potentially hinging on the unique views and characteristics individuals bring with them to the job. Just as the "importation model" of prison adaptation recognizes the importance of pre-prison characteristics in explaining offender behavior, we argue that the unique personal experiences and social histories correctional officers import with them might shape the way they react to prison work. Thus, by thematically, descriptively, and multivariately examining three theoretically germane pre-prison work characteristics of 673 pre-service correctional officers (career motivations, attitudes toward prisoners, occupational histories), this call for research aims to raise awareness of the less studied factors within the correctional officer literature. Understanding the backgrounds and attitudes of newly hired correctional officers may potentially assist in the recruitment and retainment of these crucial employees in the prison system both in the United States and abroad.
... Although police decision making has traditionally been viewed as occurring in a low visibility environment (Goldstein, 1960), new technology is increasing our ability to examine police behavior during individual incidents (White & Malm, 2020). Police officers have long been considered to have a "cover your ass" mentality to ensure continued employment (Van Maanen, 1978), and heightened national attention to police behavior and police reform have likely enhanced this orientation among officers who are feeling immense scrutiny due to what some have called a legitimacy crisis in policing (Todak, 2017). For instance, recent research has identified high rates of police turnover following protests related to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a fatal police use of force incident captured using a BWC (Mourtgos et al., 2021). ...
Article
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The adoption of body‐worn cameras (BWCs) is often promoted in response to contentious police use of force incidents involving minority civilians. BWCs are expected to improve policing outcomes by enhancing accountability, although researchers have yet to determine whether BWCs can reduce racial/ethnic disparities. I examine whether BWCs mitigate the influence of neighborhood racial/ethnic context on arrests and use of force using cross‐classified logistic regression models to examine the outcomes of 900,000+ police–civilian contacts in Phoenix. Arrests were significantly more likely to occur in Hispanic and Black neighborhoods before and after BWC deployment, even accounting for situational, officer, and neighborhood characteristics. When BWCs were activated in Black neighborhoods, the odds of arrest decreased by 38%. However, BWCs did not moderate the influence of neighborhood percentage of Hispanic on arrest. The neighborhood racial/ethnic context was not associated with the use of force pre‐ or post‐BWC deployment. Although BWCs have been associated with several positive outcomes, their ability to reduce racial/ethnic disparities appears to be overstated. As such, more targeted approaches to reducing disparities in policing outcomes are needed. For example, leveraging the information collected through BWCs could facilitate enhanced supervision to identify officers engaging in racially disparate practices and hold them accountable. Although neighborhood racial/ethnic context was a robust predictor of arrest, these results point to nuanced influences of BWC activation in minority communities. This could be due to differential causes of arrest in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
... To be clear, people commonly join law enforcement because they want to serve their communities and help others (Todak, 2017). Yet in virtually every population a certain percentage of problematic individuals exist (Vaughn et al., 2018), including police officers (DOJ, 2016). ...
Article
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Despite numerous high-profile deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement, little attention has been paid to the issue of police reform in the social work literature. To address this gap, this article focuses on a topic that has been singled out as the most important area of potential reform: restructuring the disciplinary provisions embedded in the contracts negotiated between police unions and municipalities. These provisions frequently shield problematic officers from public accountability by hindering their identification, sanctioning, and dismissal. Given that collective bargaining agreements are typically negotiated behind closed doors, social workers can play an essential role by advocating for public negotiations between municipal and union leaders, so provisions that obstruct public accountability for unfit officers can be identified and eliminated. The article concludes by delineating three alternative models to the status quo—increased neighborhood policing, disbanding or defunding police departments, and police abolition zones—and notes that no model can be successful if those who abuse their power cannot be removed from their positions of public trust. The authors suggest that social workers collaborate with African American residents in a given community to ensure that their preferences regarding community justice are enacted in a manner that reflects their aspirations.
... Rachel was interested in researching women's experiences in U.S. policing, inspired by her twenty year career in law enforcement, combined with academic literature she had read documenting the challenges faced by women in their attempts to promote and thrive in the profession (e.g.,Archbold & Schulz, 2008;Rabe- Hemp, 2018). Since Natalie was an academic researcher with experience interviewing and conducting focus groups with women officers and recruits (see, e.g.,Todak, 2012Todak, , 2017Todak et al., 2018), they determined a mutual research interest and forged a collaboration.They teamed up with Renee Mitchell, a retired Sergeant with the Sacramento Police Department, current Senior Police Researcher at RTI International, and the inspirational muse for the LEADS program. Together they designed and implemented two national-level, mixed methods data collection efforts focused on understanding the experiences of women in nontraditional positions in law enforcement. ...
... Despite these gains, a more representative growth in the number of females in policing has lagged and women remain largely underrepresented in this male-dominated occupation. Nonetheless, the contemporary female police force has been recognized as reinforcing the positive aspects of community policing (Kimberly, 2000;Todak, 2017;Waugh, Ede, & Alley, 1998). ...
Article
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Given the recent attention focusing on “bad apples” in police departments across the country, police behaviors have been the subject of considerable controversy and protest. Still, research indicates that rates of officially reported police crime are relatively low. In addition, crimes committed by female officers are largely understudied in this male-dominated workplace. Therefore, the current study explores the attributes associated with police crime committed by female officers using national arrest data. Results obtained from a multilevel model demonstrate the influences of individual- and agency-level variables in explaining female officers’ criminality. Findings reveal that while on-duty female officers are more likely to commit economically motivated and drug-related crimes, off-duty officers are more likely to engage in violent and alcohol-related crimes. Moreover, contextual factors such as types of agency and numbers of sworn officers predicted female officers’ criminality. Current findings highlight the importance of policies that would directly address female criminality in law enforcement.
... Secondly, our empirical data also suggests that the officers felt that a strong culture had emerged where police officers had become demonized by the national media, and in turn that police legitimacy had increasingly become questioned within communities (Maguire, Nix, & Campbell, 2017;Todak, 2017;Deuchar et al., 2020). They evidently believed that their profession was continually under the microscope and were hostile towards what they viewed as the increasingly common practice among citizens to film police behavior on cell phones and post these films online (Deuchar, Fallik, & Crichlow, 2019;Deuchar et al., 2020). ...
... It has been argued that gender affects motivations to enter the policing profession (Chu, 2018;Todak, 2017) and this research sought to determine whether and how gender impacts an individual's motivation to enter policing in Trinidad and Tobago (RQ3). The data in Table 3 answer this research question and highlight the top 10 motivations to enter the TTPS given by males versus females. ...
Article
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Internationally, there is a substantial amount of research on motivations to enter the police profession; however, scant research attention has been paid to the motivations of individuals in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Trinidad and Tobago who choose policing as a career path. As a result, this research was designed to analyze motivations for entering the police profession by gathering data from recruits who had recently entered police academy training in Trinidad and Tobago. The research utilized a quantitative approach with self-administered questionnaires as the data-gathering instrument. Using data collected from 160 police recruits at the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) police academy who were two months into their induction training, this study attempts to answer four questions related to their motivations for entering policing. Statistical analyses of the data included comparisons between groups in the sample (males/females) to determine the existence of competing motivations. The results indicate that job security was the main motivation for entry into the TTPS and that the motivations of male recruits were more altruistic when compared with those of female recruits, which were generally self-serving. Other results and implications for policy are discussed.
... These gendered realities of policing are evident in perceptions of policing. In her study of criminal justice college students, Todak (2017) shows that prospective police officers perceive decreased police legitimacy and that women recognize genderspecific challenges. ...
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Paramount to effective public safety and perception of the police is the public’s experiences. Looking through the lens of procedural justice, we examine implications of citizen-gender perceptions during police interactions. We expect that, despite invariant implementation of procedural justice, public perceptions will vary depending on both officer and respondent gender. We use a 2 × 2 factorial vignette design to measure the relationship between officers’ behavior as consistent or inconsistent with procedural justice and respondent attitudes toward those behaviors. Respondents’ (N = 1028) perceptions were measured based on antagonistic feelings, positive personal qualities, fear, and respect. Results reflect expectations; female officers are perceived differently than male officers despite invariant levels of procedural justice implementation in three out of four categories (excluding respect). Results strengthen the existing body of work concerning the significance of procedural justice and add to the growing understanding of the effects of gender perceptions in the sphere of law enforcement.
... To date, relatively few scholars have assessed the desirability of criminal justice vocations. Concordant with the fact that the majority of the nation's municipal, county, and federal law enforcement officers are male (Brooks, 2019a(Brooks, , 2019bHyland & Davis, 2019), the most consistent finding in the literature is that gender influences the career appeal of the various components of the criminal justice system, with males being drawn to law enforcement and females tending to prefer law, courts, or community corrections (Courtright & Mackey, 2004;Golden, 1981Golden, , 1982Stringer & Murphy, 2020;Todak, 2017). For example, Krimmel and Tartaro (1999, p. 285) surveyed several hundred criminal justice majors at a dozen colleges and universities and reported that "male respondents were interested in a law enforcement career; while women were interested in attending law school." ...
Article
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This study examines the effects of attitudes toward the police and punitive ideology on Hispanic criminal justice majors’ interest in law enforcement careers. To date, relatively few studies of the occupational interests of students majoring in criminal justice have been conducted and most have focused on the impact of demographic characteristics on career goals among predominantly White samples of criminal justice majors. Few scholars have questioned whether the attitudes and beliefs of criminal justice majors influence their occupational aspirations or investigated the career objectives of racial/ethnic minority criminal justice majors. This study addresses these gaps in the extant literature via an analysis of survey data collected from students attending a Hispanic-Serving Institution. A structural equation model of the data indicates the students’ age, gender, attitudes toward the police, contact with the police, and punitiveness are significantly correlated with interest in a career in law enforcement. The policy implications are discussed.
... In doing so, these findings contribute to the growing literature surrounding uniforms and perceptions of uniformed personnel (e.g., Durkin & Jeffery, 2000;Simpson, 2017Simpson, , 2020Singer & Singer, 1985). These findings also supplement existing research regarding gender in policing and law enforcement more broadly (e.g., Belknap, 1996;Belknap & Shelley, 1993;Cordner & Cordner, 2011;Cunningham & Ramshaw, 2020;Gaub, 2019;Kringen & Novich, 2018;Martin, 1980;McCarty et al., 2007;Poteyeva & Sun, 2009;Rabe-Hemp, 2008a;Rabe-Hemp, 2008b;Rabe-Hemp, 2009;Schuck & Rabe-Hemp, 2007;Swan, 2016;Todak, 2017;Worden, 1993). Future research in this domain should account for these effects when evaluating the influence of both the presence of officers on citizens' perceptions of police as well as the outcomes of police-citizen interactions. ...
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Policing has historically been conceptualized as a masculine and male-dominated profession. As part of the present research, we test two competing hypotheses about the effects of officer gender on citizens’ (N = 251) perceptions of officer aggression. Our results reveal that women are perceived as less aggressive than men when wearing civilian clothes, but similarly aggressive as men when wearing their police uniform. By experimentally testing the salience of policing versus gender cues on judgments of officers, we provide insight into the gendered dynamics of policing and complement existing research in the fields of criminology and psychology.
... In a survey of college students, Morrow and colleagues (2019), for example, found those who perceived media scrutiny of police had made the work more dangerous were less likely to want to apply to police jobs. Similarly, Todak (2017) identified concerns about the legitimacy crisis among students planning to become officers, yet also found that female students, in particular, felt uniquely positioned to help address legitimacy concerns and were even more motivated to work in law enforcement. ...
Article
Police applicant disqualification due to prior illegal drug use is a contributing factor to major recruitment and hiring challenges currently facing many American policing agencies. This article explores how chief executives of law enforcement agencies and college students enrolled in criminology courses in Arizona view current statewide police hiring standards related to prior drug use. We use surveys conducted in cooperation with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to examine respondent opinions regarding the preemployment use of marijuana and illicit use of prescription drugs. Generally, we find significant differences between the chief executive and student views. Students, who represent potential policing applicants, typically are in favor of harsher treatment of prior drug use than chief executives, although students are also more open to forgiving marijuana use under certain circumstances. We discuss the implications of these findings for police hiring and suggest potential areas of policy change.
... For instance, Wolfe and Nix (2016) state that "police in the U.S. appear to be facing a legitimacy crisis as a result of the hysteria over highly publicized deadly force incidents in several cities" (p. 7). Todak (2017), in the study on students who want to become police officers, maintains that "prospective police officers anticipated facing challenges as a direct result of the current climate surrounding American policing, which is characterized by decreased police legitimacy" (p. 250). ...
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Hu and Lovrich introduce the "electronic community-oriented policing (E-COP)," concept to explore how social media can impact police strategies on improving and maintaining police-public relation. Using empirical evidence and theoretical foundations, this book demonstrates the importance of this timely refinement to traditional community-oriented policing strategies as we move further into the twentieth century. E-COP represents a systematic approach to policing that applies knowledge derived from theories of individual behavior, social behavior, and mass communication dynamics to contemporary policing practice. This book would be of interest to policing researchers, scholars, and students as well as police practitioners wishing to improve their use of social media resources to connect to the public they serve in the digital age. Book website (https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781793607843/Electronic-Community-Oriented-Policing-Theories-Contemporary-Efforts-and-Future-Directions).
... Mischaracterizations of police work on social media, nonetheless, impact the public's assessment of law enforcement legitimacy. To that end, Todak (2017) suggested that law enforcement are facing a "legitimacy crisis" (p. 250). ...
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Social media, in the past decade, has been used to hold police accountable for their actions. There has been, however, a paucity of empirical research into how law enforcement uses social media. To explore this issue, this paper uses qualitative data emerging from ethnographic research conducted in a Southern American state. Participant observations of police officer deployments were paired with semi-structured interviews with officers from three law enforcement agencies. The extent and ways in which these officers used social media is explored. Findings indicate that social media is used to bring positive attention to law enforcement agencies and aid criminal investigations. Although the positive impact of social media was highlighted in these experiences, persistent problems and challenges also featured in the data. Finally, officer insights were drawn upon to make recommendations for future policing policy and research.
... Research focused on recruitment in policing tends to center on the question of why some people become interested in police work (see, e.g. Raganella and White, 2004;Todak, 2017). Based on survey data from a diverse sample of LAPD police officers, Felkenes and Schroedel (1993) found black, Hispanic and white women sought out police work for about the same reasons. ...
Article
Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to offer a state-of-the-art review of the research on women of color in American policing. Directions for future research are also highlighted. Design/methodology/approach-Using several online databases, a literature search was performed to collect all relevant empirical studies on the topic. The review includes only studies that examined research questions about minority women officers in their own right. Findings-The review identified 12 studies focused on recruitment, hiring, retention and the on-the-job experiences of this population. Most studies focused on black policewomen. All data analyzed in these studies are at least 20 years old. Originality/value-Research on minorities in policing tends to concentrate on either black men or white women. For decades, scholars have called for more research on policewomen of color, yet little progress has been made. The current study takes stock of the existing research and provides a much-needed agenda to fill this research gap.
... The United States is currently in the midst of a police legitimacy crisis (Gest 2016;Todak 2017). This crisis has been characterized by civil unrest in Ferguson, St. Louis, and Milwaukee, among other US cities, as a response to multiple police-involved shootings of unarmed black men and suspicious deaths of black males in police custody. ...
Article
Body-worn cameras are a promising new development in policing. They have been linked to positive outcomes such as decreases in use of force and complaints against officers. However, this new technology has produced a number of issues that could thwart a successful body-worn camera program implementation. One issue is the extent to which officers possess positive attitudes toward using body-worn cameras. If officers do not view body-worn cameras positively, they may not use cameras to their full potential. This study examined the relationship between organizational justice and attitudes toward body-worn cameras in 492 police officers across 3 agencies using structural equation modeling. Findings indicated no observable relationship between perceptions of organizational justice and attitudes toward body-worn cameras. The implications for the organizational adoption of innovations in policy are discussed.
Article
Purpose This paper aims to assess COVID-19 as presenting both a crisis and opportunity for police trust and legitimacy by considering the role of police in delivering the legislative requirements of government and enforcing various health orders across Australia and New Zealand. Design/methodology/approach The research relies on a mixed-methods analysis of national, commonwealth, state and territory policy, corporate police reports, academic commentary and media coverage throughout the pandemic. Survey data gathered during the pandemic relevant to trust and legitimacy in police and government is also analysed. Findings Five findings relating to police trust and legitimacy are identified. They reveal that police mostly did seize the pandemic as an opportunity to implement practices that enhanced perceptions of trust and legitimacy. However, even where police were able to leverage COVID-19 as an opportunity, the protracted nature of the pandemic posed a challenge for maintaining trust and legitimacy gains. The findings also underscore the importance of a continued focus on building trust and legitimacy post-pandemic to counter any lingering consequences. Research limitations/implications The applicability of the findings outside the Australian and New Zealand context may be limited, given differences in jurisdictional legislative frameworks and policing operational environments. Practical implications This study identifies good community engagement practice for pandemic policing, contributes to communication strategies for managing trust decay during an emergency, forecasts ongoing trust and legitimacy challenges to policing’s post-pandemic operational environment and enhances aspects of post-pandemic recruitment approaches. Originality/value The findings contribute to emerging police practice and research on building and sustaining trust and legitimacy during periods of uncertainty and volatility, such as during and after a pandemic.
Article
Policing in the United States is currently undergoing a serious workforce crisis. Drawing on Van Maanen’s police socialization theory, we suggest that police recruiting videos provide an opportunity for departments to send clear signals to recruits about their attitudes and values that will improve recruiting. We employ a randomized vignette survey design to test the effectiveness of recruiting videos. Our findings demonstrate that college students indicate a greater willingness to become a police officer when recruiting videos focus on police officers’ service to the community. This effect is particularly strong for students who indicate they desire to make a positive change in the world.
Article
This work explores the extent to which the death of George Floyd in May of 2020 and the COVID-19 crisis affected criminal justice students’ perceptions of career commitment and motivations toward public service. A survey was administered to a cohort of criminal justice majors at one Michigan university who were between their junior and senior years, once in the spring semester of 2020, before Floyd’s death and the civil unrest that followed, and again at the end of the 2020 summer semester. The results suggest that career commitment remained unchanged between the two time points, as did the students’ COVID-related attitudes. Contrary to expectations, public service motivation increased (rather than decreased), and this change was significant. The results are more encouraging than might be expected in such a tumultuous time of history, and they may help inform educators about how students view such turmoil relative to their career choice.
Article
While the topics of deterrent and motivating factors for entry into the police profession are well researched and documented in North America, Europe, and other jurisdictions, scholarly research on the phenomenon is scarce in the Caribbean. Furthermore, studies utilising qualitative approaches and police recruits to examine motivations and deterrents (barriers) for entry into policing in the Caribbean are even rarer. As a result, this study utilised a qualitative approach to examine potential deterrent and motivating factors for entry into the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) through the lens of police recruits. Qualitative data were gathered from a cohort of Jamaican police recruits (N = 67) via a qualitative strand that was embedded within a survey instrument to police recruits in 2017 and which formed part of a larger study on policing in the Caribbean. The data were analysed using thematic analysis to determine the major deterrent and motivating factors for entry into the JCF. The analysis indicated six main themes related to motivations for entering the JCF, namely: (1) personal connections to the police, (2) citizen security and enforcement, (3) personal development and self-improvement, (4) being an exemplar to others, (5) socio-economic stability, and (6) positive perceptions of the police. The data also revealed three main themes related to deterrent factors for entry into the JCF, namely: (1) negative perception of the JCF, (2) the lengthy recruiting process, and (3) perceptions of police corruption within the JCF.
Article
Mainstream media have argued that prolonged and harsh criticism of police officers prompted by death of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police has had a major negative effect on the US law enforcement community. This phenomenon, known as the “Ferguson effect”, was exacerbated in the following years by the availability of other violent public–police interactions propagated through social media. The academic literature found almost no evidence that the Ferguson effect had any impact on crime rates and only limited evidence that it resulted in de-policing in the United States. Missing from this conversation is research on how the Ferguson effect impacted the ability of police departments to maintain staffing levels and recruit new officers nationwide. This article fills this gap in the research literature by examining levels of officer retention and recruitment from an organizational perspective. Police chiefs in Texas were surveyed about their perceptions of the Ferguson effect on department recruitment and retention efforts. The results found that the Ferguson effect is related to increased difficulty in officer recruitment but its impact is relatively small when compared with traditional recruitment challenges such as limited budgets and competitive job markets. The findings also reported no impact of the Ferguson effect on police departments’ retention issues. This article discusses these findings within the scope and context of George Floyd's death and current civil rights issues in the United States.
Chapter
This chapter examines ways to begin to rethink and reform American policing. The exploration of ideas, issues, and recommendations relevant to changing policing can help to shift policing beyond the cycle of crisis and controversy. The chapter examines some established reform recommendation, while also considering changes that require rethinking core elements and assumptions about policing. Fixing the problems in American policing will require both the full implementation of common reform recommendations, as well as the willing to pursue innovation and deeper fixes. There are paths forward to improving policing, but they will require creativity and hard work by innovative police leaders.
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Women bring important strengths to the field of policing, such as communication skills, the ability to lead teams, as well as the ability to coach and nurture subordinates. Despite these contributions, the rate of women entering policing has stagnated in recent years, and the percentage of women in supervisory, command, and leadership positions remains low. To explain this, we use an organizational structure perspective to explore how characteristics of police agencies (e.g., department size, officer demographics, and formalization) may influence the promotion of women to leadership positions. We make suggestions regarding hiring and retention and provide recommendations for further research.
Article
Purpose The article first examines whether police hiring decisions represent a zero-sum game where hires from one under-represented group (e.g. White women) reduce the number of hires made from other under-represented groups (non-White men and/or non-White women). Second, we explore whether agencies that hire more members of underrepresented groups achieve more diverse applicant pools in future hiring cycles. Negative binomial regression techniques are used in both analyses. Design/methodology/approach Data for this study come from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEAs) from 2011 to 2016. These data are divided into two periods: Period A (2011–2013) and Period B (2014–2016). The two periods are combined to assess a zero-sum effect. Then, Period A data on hiring decisions is used to estimate the diversity in applicant pools in Period B. Findings Results from this study provided little evidence of a zero-sum effect. It does not seem that agencies that hire from one under-represented group are less likely to hire from others. Instead, agencies that have shown a commitment to diversification are more likely to make additional hires from under-represented groups. We also found evidence of a relationship between Period A hires and Period B applicant pools for Hispanic women, but not for other groups. Broadly, we found that agencies where a larger share of officers are women were more likely to hire more women applicants. Originality/value Previous research examining zero-sum effects in hiring rely on officer rosters rather than specific applicant and hiring data. The data used in this study allows for a more precise examination of hiring decisions, and allows us to link hiring decisions to future applicant pool composition.
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine the moderating effect of self-regulation on the relationship between public service motivation and well-being of Philippine National Police Personnel among the three major cities in DavaoProvince situated at Region XI. A validated questionnaire was used in gathering the data from the 400 police personnel in the region. Correlational research design was employed using hierarchical regression and modgraph. The result of this study revealed that self-regulation has no significant moderating effect on the relationship between public service motivation and well-being of police personnel involved in this study. Police personnel who have higher and lower level of self-regulation demonstrated the same degree of well-being as being influenced by public service motivation. Although the significant moderating effect of self-regulation on the relationship between public service motivation and well-being was not proven, result revealed that separately public service motivation and self-regulation are important contributors to well-being.
Article
Using a two-by-two vignette-based experimental design, this study aimed to examine the effects of women’s symbolic representation in sexual assault units and the arrest rate for interpersonal violence cases on individuals’ perceptions of police legitimacy, support for leadership, and willingness to engage in bystander intervention behaviors. Using responses from 357 students attending one university in the Midwest, the results showed that a higher level of women’s representation was associated with more police legitimacy and greater support for the leader when the agency had a low arrest rate. Whereas police legitimacy was related to bystanders’ intentions to intervene, women’s representation in the unit and the arrest rate was not. The findings indicate that women’s representation in policing strengthens the support for the police in gendered areas when the agency is underperforming.
Article
Diversifying has been a challenge for police agencies, despite their increased efforts to attract qualified candidates. Even when recruiters manage an adequately diverse applicant pool, the dropout rate of candidates throughout the notably long hiring process threatens the representativeness of the applicant pool. Thus, police agencies are eager to examine why applicants—especially women and minority applicants—withdraw from the hiring process to address any common reasons and retain desirable candidates. To explore reasons for withdrawal, 143 women and minority police applicants who withdrew from the hiring process reported their reason for withdrawal during a telephone interview conducted in the spring and summer of 2016. The primary reasons for applicant attrition, after changing their mind or another personal reason, was finding other employment and the length of the hiring process. Recommendations for policy include increasing communication to applicants, shortening the hiring process and hiring on a continuous basis. Implications are discussed.
Article
The lack of gender equity in the public sector is a critical issue, especially for emergency services. We explore the gendered nature of firefighting and policing at both professional and organizational levels. We assess gender equity by asking the following questions: (1) How have understandings of gender in emergency services evolved over time? (2) What are the normative implications of emergency services’ lack of gender equity? We draw from feminist literature to critique the lack of progress and examine firefighting and policing histories along with the professional ethics codes of the U.S. Fire Administration and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This analysis demonstrates the potential to foster greater gender equity in emergency services and other public organizations by suggesting means of improving ethics codes that serve as foundations for organizational cultures, policies, and practices
Article
This study aimed to evaluate the dimensionality of motivations to become a police officer; assess sex, race, and ethnicity differences in motives; and analyze the relationship between motivations, job satisfaction, and career outlook. Using a sample of police recruits (N = 1009) drawn from the United States, the analyses revealed three basic dimensions: (1) economic opportunities and stability; (2) working conditions, including excitement and prestige; and (3) humanitarian reasons, such as working with people. The results suggest that focusing on humanitarian motivations should directly result in the recruitment of more female, Black, and Latinx candidates and indirectly result in higher job satisfaction and more positive career attitudes. Furthermore, the results indicate that using messages that convey economic opportunities and job stability for recruitment efforts should also result in more female, Black, and Latinx candidates; however, this strategy will not have the positive indirect effect of increased satisfaction or career outlook.
Article
Policing as an institution has been under immense pressure to increase the representation of women as police patrol officers. As the representation of women in policing has plateaued, increasing research has focused on barriers to women entering patrol work but has not examined the salience of these barriers with respect to males or reliably determined which barriers are most influential to desire to enter a police patrol career prior to employment. Drawing upon survey responses from more than 640 students enrolled in criminal justice courses across five universities (i.e., University of Southern Mississippi, Illinois State University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Indiana University-Purdue University Indiana, and Missouri State University), the current inquiry examines the degree to which female and male students differ in their perceptions of barriers to entering a patrol career frequently listed in the literature. The findings indicate that female students view many of these obstacles differently than male students and that these perceptions influence interest in patrol careers.
Article
The recent focus on the controversial deaths of minorities at the hands of police officers has led to increased attention on racial bias among the law enforcement community. However, this focus does not extend to criminal justice students. Instead, research examining undergraduates’ racial attitudes focuses on the general student body. In addition to reviewing literature related to criminal justice students’ attitudes toward a variety of criminal justice and social issues, the current study used multiple regression analyses to examine racial and gender differences in a Southwestern University’s criminal justice students’ perceptions of and sensitivity to racism. Findings from the study indicate that male criminal justice students in the sample and White criminal justice students are more likely to have lower perceptions of racism than their female and non-White counterparts, respectively. Additionally, findings for criminal justice students’ sensitivity to racism suggest that White male criminal justice students’ sensitivity to racism only statistically significantly differs from non-White females with White males more likely to be less sensitive than non-White females. Furthermore, the current research provides a benchmark for research related to criminal justice students’ perceptions of racism and discriminatory practices and their attitudes toward minorities. Results, study implications, recommendations, and future research are discussed.
Article
Diversity of police personnel, especially regarding representation of female and racial/ethnic minority officers, is an important step in improving positive police-community relations. Historically, both female and minority applicants have faced challenges in recruitment, hiring, and selection. By systematically reviewing literature available from 2000 to present, this paper identifies persistent challenges and programs aimed at overcoming such deficits in the United States. The studies use samples ranging from potential applicants in college settings to large police agencies, and use primarily quantitative approaches. This review identified four areas that affect hiring of minority and female officers: (1) organizational and external predictors, (2) motivations and attitudes, (3) effective recruitment strategies, and (4) screening process barriers. Recent research has only topically addressed these concerns, while simultaneously revealing significant limitations regarding sample sizes, research design, and implementation in the field. Directions for future research and implications for policy are discussed.
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The scarcity of research on female police officers is a consequence of the low representation of women in the profession. Almost no research has focused on the perceptions, expectations, and beliefs of prospective female police officers. Participants in the current study included four female Criminal Justice students who reported plans to apply to police departments after graduation. In a focus group setting, participants responded to six research questions designed to elicit responses on their perceptions and expectations of police work. They were additionally questioned on perceptions regarding the realities of police work for female officers in particular. The findings are twofold: 1) Prospective female officers possess extensive knowledge about police work and the challenges encountered by policewomen, and 2) They have devised strategies that they believe will help them overcome these challenges in the future. Participants most commonly suggested that female police officers ought to utilize adaptive police behaviors, such as communication skills, on the street. As the focus group consisted of college-educated individuals who were each familiar with the law enforcement field, the findings suggest the importance of motivation and experience with respect to a prospective officer’s perceptions of police work. The findings further imply that prospective policewomen perceive that policewomen have unique responsibilities and provide specialized skills to the police force.
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Although organizational decision-makers are turning toward "family-friendly" policies to reduce employee work-family strain, the usefulness of such policies, as well as percep- tions of their availability, remains unclear. Thus, we examined both perceived availability of family-friendly programs as well as the actual usage of such programs for minimizing work-family conflict. Data from the Work and Family Services for Law Enforcement Personnel in the United States study (Delprino, O'Quinn, & Kennedy, 1995) were used from 866 married police officers. Results showed that work stress was positively related to work-family conflict. Furthermore, whereas no relationship between program usage and work-family conflict emerged, there was both a direct negative relationship between program availability and work-family conflict and family-friendly policy availability moderated the relationship between work stress and work-family conflict. The effects of job-related stressors can wreak havoc on employees, their families, and the organization and community for which they work. This is especially true for individuals who are in more stressful jobs - such as police officers. Specifically, officers may experience physical, emotional, and social problems exacer- bated by stressors that result from their jobs (Swanson, Territo, & Taylor, 1998). These negative personal consequences can then influence the relationship that officers have with their families, how they perform work duties and how they interact with members of the community. However, whereas some stressors have re- ceived extensive attention in the criminal justice literature (e.g.,
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Complaints that have been filed with the internal affairs office of a large police department in the Southeast were examined over a three year period. Possible differences between the male and female officers named in the allegations of misconduct were explored in the following areas: overall number of complaints; characteristics of the officer (age, race, and tenure); characteristics of the complaint; and characteristics of the citizen. While male officers were overrepresented in the allegations of misconduct, there were no significant differences found in the other areas of interest.
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Four hundred undergraduate criminal justice students from twelve colleges and universities in seven states participated in an anonymous, written survey designed to determine career choices and expectations as well as other demographic information. Approximately half of the students surveyed indicated that they were pursuing a career in law enforcement. Almost one-third indicated that they had no career plans. We found that reasons for studying criminal justice vary by race and gender, as do career goals.
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Students majoring in criminal justice present an “embarrassment of riches” for academic programs, so little attention has been given to these students and their perspectives on criminal justice programs. However, the assessment movement in higher education and the ACJS encourage self‐examination and program improvement. Further, student satisfaction has been recognized as an important element in the discussion of school and program quality and effectiveness. The present paper presents data from an outcome survey of graduating seniors from a Midwestern public university, with a focus on the reasons why students chose the major, career plans upon graduation, and program satisfaction. The paper explores possible predictors of these variables and discusses the implications of these results for criminal justice faculty, students, and programs.*This paper is a revision of one presented at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences annual meeting, March 9–13, 2004, Las Vegas, Nevada. The author wishes to thank the reviewers for their helpful comments.
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This article expands on the discussion of female police officers' response to tokenism in the workplace, as well as how perceived token status affects female police officers' decisions to participate in promotion. Using structured, face-to-face interviews with female police officers in a large Midwestern police agency, the current study produced some research findings that contrast with Kanter's original description of tokenism. This study found that most female police officers were strongly encouraged by their male supervisors to participate in the promotion process. This encouragement by male police supervisors actually dissuaded some of the female officers from participating in the promotion process. These findings suggest that tokenism in the workplace is more complex than focusing solely on the numerical representation of women in traditionally male-dominated professions.
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The National Center for Women and Policing reported that in 2001, women only represented 12.7% of all sworn officers in large agencies. In addition, they report that this percentage represents a drop from a high of 14.3% in 1999. The intent of the current study is to provide information pertaining to employment motivations, experiences, and attitudes of female law enforcement officers and to provide information regarding the low levels of female representation in this field. A total of 531 female officers responded to a survey mailed out to approximately 2,000 randomly selected female police officers. Respondents reported a variety of information concerning their perceptions about working in law enforcement including their reasons for pursuing policing as a career, reasons that would motivate them to leave law enforcement, and how they perceive they are treated at work compared to their male counterparts.
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Studies a large midwestern police agency to find out whether female applicants failed the physical ability test more often than male applicants, whether the tasks were job related or whether there was violation of the “four-fifths” rule of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and whether the test measured critical tasks. Finds that the test has an adverse effect on women and is not job related.
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There are more women employed by police agencies today than ever before. Their role and workplace experiences have changed significantly from the time that they were first employed as police matrons in the late 1800s-early 1900s. This article covers the history of women in policing. It provides an overview of past and contemporary research focused on female police officers. A trend found in the contemporary research reveals that there are many similarities among male and female police officers. This trend is interesting as policing has traditionally been a male dominated profession in the United States.
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This study explores the impact of work environment, work-family conflict, and coping mechanisms on physical and psychological stresses of police officers. Using survey data from a large police department located in the New England area, we pay specific attention to analyzing similar and dissimilar results while comparing across gender groups. Our research indicates that for both gender groups, work-family conflict (spillover) and destructive coping mechanisms are among the strongest and most consistent stressors, regardless of the measures of dependent variable employed (i.e. somatization, anxiety and depression). On the other hand, we also find divergent impact of exposures to negative work environment, camaraderie, and constructive coping mechanisms on different measures of work related stresses across the two gender groups. Implications of these convergent and divergent effects are discussed.
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This study examined the growth in the number of female officers in supervisory and command positions (i.e., sergeant to bureau chief) in the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from 2000 to 2013. Time and annual percent changes in the number of male officers, the number of male officers in supervisory and command positions, and the number of female officers served as predictors. An ordinary least squares regression analysis failed to produce statistically significant results for the growth in the number of female officers in supervisory and command positions. The regression analysis also produced statistically nonsignificant results for changes in the level of disparity among male and female officers in supervisory and command positions. Over the past 13 years, female officers have made little progress in advancing to supervisory and command positions in the NYPD. 2015
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This article explores reasons why the level of employment of women police in the United States is relatively low and no longer seems to be increasing. Surveys were administered to all women officers and all police chiefs in a three-county area of Pennsylvania where the proportion of women police is lower than the national average. The chiefs and women officers largely agreed about the impact of many components of the hiring process. Women officers perceived more shortcomings in recruitment practices than did the chiefs, though, and put much more emphasis on the male-dominated cultures of police academies and police organizations as obstacles to both recruitment and retention of women officers.
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An informative look at a very difficult topic. The discretion, authority, and power granted the police to accomplish their mission offer multiple opportunities for deviance. This revised edition effectively organizes a large amount of material in order to provide students with a timely and comprehensive review of this disturbing dimension of police organizations. The authors analysis of deviance as the product of the organization of the occupation, the expectations of society, and the perceptions and interpretations of the role of the police are compellingly presented. A fascinating portrait of the social and organizational factors of the police working environment emerges, providing students with a broad framework for assessing the police culture and the many forms of police deviance.
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This study's objective was to determine if involvement in the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation process will have a significant, positive effect on the representation of sworn women in large police agencies at all organizational levels and on the representation of women of color as a percentage of the total workforce. This study compared 193 large (100 or more sworn personnel) non-CALEA agencies with 201 large CALEA agencies. Results of this research suggest that there are significant differences between CALEA and non-CALEA agencies and that involvement in the CALEA accreditation process appears to encourage and facilitate the recruitment and promotion of women at least in large police agencies. Additional research should be conducted comparing small CALEA and non-CALEA agencies, and the authors recommend CALEA officials revisit the available workforce issue to ensure more accurate estimates of the numbers of women in respective workforces.
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Three main research questions were examined in the present study. First, are there differences between male and female criminal justice undergraduates when it comes to selecting their future careers? Second, are male criminal justice students more likely than their female counterparts to pursue careers in law enforcement? Third, are men more likely than women to hold unfavorable attitudes toward women criminal justice practitioners? Data were collected from 256 undergraduates majoring in criminal justice at an urban university located in a metropolitan area in the midwestern United States during the early spring of 2006. Significant gender differences were found among the respondents in terms of their career goals/choices and motivations.
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This article examines the literature on the physical demands of police work, the use of physical agility testing in police selection, and women's performance as police officers. A survey was conducted with 62 police agencies regarding their physical agility test and the representation of sworn women. Results indicate that the vast majority (89%) of agencies use some form of physical agility testing for entry-level selection, and agencies with a test have 31% fewer sworn women than agencies without such a test (15.8% vs. 10.9%). Results also demonstrate a striking lack of agreement regarding the physical capabilities that should be tested and the standards that should be used to evaluate successful performance. In light of these results, women's proven ability to perform as police officers, and the legal requirements of preemployment testing, the article concludes by reviewing alternatives for physical agility testing in police officer selection.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of policewomen to determine the extent to which female officers face resistance and obstacles to police work, to examine the coping mechanisms female officers utilized to overcome impediments encountered, and to establish common themes in female officers' success stories of acceptance and integration. Design/methodology/approach Owing to the difficulty in accessing female officers, the current research utilizes in‐depth qualitative interviews through snowball sampling. This methodology provided a rich sample of tenured female officers' experiences to explore resistance and integration. Findings The findings suggest despite early occupational experiences of sexual harassment, discrimination, and disrespect, after long tenures, female officers do achieve acceptance in police work. Female officers are holding high civil service ranks in police agencies and achieving new “firsts” every day, including breaking into stereotypically masculine assignments. Practical implications As police departments nationwide are having difficulties maintaining recruitment standards and full rosters, the current study can provide insight into the obstacles women face when joining police agencies and methods to alleviate these impediments, revealing an under‐recruited population for police agencies nationwide. Originality/value This study extends past literature by: examining female officers' experiences in a variety of agencies previously ignored in the literature; analyzing the tenure of the officers' careers to determine the onset and desistance of female officers' experiences with resistance and acceptance; and suggesting women do survive and, in some instances, thrive in an “all boys club.”
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This study explores why police recruits “drop out” of police work within the first 16 months of their policing careers, including those reasons that maybe salient for women and racial/ethnic minorities and the usefulness of cognitive dissonance theory as an explanation for the “voluntary resignation” of police recruits in the early stages of police training and service. The sample of 113 “dropouts” was obtained as part of a longitudinal study of a panel sample of 446 police recruits who were followed through basic training, field training, and a 1-year probationary period. Data obtained via telephone interviews with 34 dropouts revealed that recruits dropped out of police work for three reasons: self-initiated resignation and academy-initiated and department-initiated termination. Recruits who self-initiated resignation experienced a conflict between the version of policing embodied in their ideal and the reality of policing in practice. For female officers, gender discrimination was woven into their resignation decision.
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Purpose The research compared the predictors of work‐related stress for policemen and policewomen. Stressors included workplace problems, token status in the organization, low family and coworker support, and community and organizational conditions. Design/methodology/approach In 11 police departments, racial and ethnic minorities were oversampled. Of 2,051 officers sampled, 46.2 percent responded. Questions and scales were adapted from prior research on both males and females. Regression analysis revealed the strength of individual predictors of stress, the variance explained by workplace problems, and the additional variance explained by social support, token status, and community and organizational context. Findings Workplace problems explained more male's than female's stress. Regardless of gender, the strongest predictor of stress was bias of coworkers, and a weaker predictor was language harassment. Just for males, lack of influence over work and appearance‐related stigmatization were additional predictors. Workplace problems explained gender differences in stress that were related to token status as a female. Research limitations/implications The sample was not representative of all police in the USA. Measures of community and organizational characteristics were highly intercorrelated, so they could not be examined separately. Especially, for women, there is a need to identify additional sorts of influence on stress. Practical implications Although individual interventions and coping strategies are important for reducing police officer stress, changes in the organizational context also deserve attention. There is a need to develop and test interventions to reduce bias among coworkers, to contain language harassment, and to provide police with an increased sense of control over their work. Originality/value The paper focuses on stress within the policing environment.
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Studies agency compliance with affirmative action mandate on black and/or female personnel. Examines turnover in sworn personnel in a municipal police department at Tallahassee, Florida. Looks at characteristics of “stayers” and “quitters” in the context of race and gender. Discusses possible ramifications of differential turnover. Notes pronounced attrition rate for black females. Suggests that female turnover may be due to their having a higher educational level than male officers, since college-educated personnel are more likely to grow disenchanted with routine beat duties.
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Hiring and retaining more women provides numerous important advantages to law enforcement agencies. Research conducted in the United States and internationally has clearly documented that following facts: (1) female officers are as competent as their male counterparts and even excel in certain areas of police performance; (2) female officers are less likely to use excessive force; (3) female officers are more likely to implement "community-oriented policing"; (4) more female officers will improve law enforcement's response to violence against women; (5) increasing the presence of female officers reduces problems of sex discrimination and harassment within a law enforcement agency; and (6) the presence of women can bring about beneficial changers in policy for all officers. Although a number of studies document police officers' and community members' concern that women are not strong enough or aggressive enough for police work, physical strength has not been shown to predict general police effectiveness or ability to handle dangerous situations successfully. Research and practical experience alike provide every reason to believe that hiring and retaining more women in law enforcement will yield benefits not only to women within the police profession but also to their male counterparts, the larger police organization, and the communities in which they serve. (86 endnotes) (MN)
Article
Studied factors influencing the choice of policing as an occupation in Likert-type survey data for 26 female and 52 male officers in 2 midwestern US police agencies. Consistent with previous studies, reasons for entering policing did not vary as a function of sex. Both males and females shared similar motivations, the most prevalent being a desire to help people and the security associated with the job. Neither salary nor the ability to exercise power was a major influence for either sex. Both sexes felt that their male colleagues entered policing for reasons related to power and authority. Females viewed a desire to be part of a fraternal organization as a motivating factor for males. Both sexes agreed on the reasons for women entering policing, and these reasons corresponded with those cited by the women for themselves. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Conducted an evaluation of policewomen on patrol in a suburban St. Louis county, using field observations, citizen interviews, attitude surveys, performance ratings, objective records, and personal interviews. It is concluded that women performed as well as men, or better, on all phases of sector patrol. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article draws on participant observation in a law enforcement academy to demonstrate how a hidden curriculum encourages aspects of hegemonic masculinity among recruits. Academy training teaches female and male recruits that masculinity is an essential requirement for the practice of policing and that women do not belong. By watching and learning from instructors and each other, male students developed a form of masculinity that (1) excluded women students and exaggerated differences between them and men; and (2) denigrated women in general. Thus, the masculinity that is characteristic of police forces and is partly responsible for women’s low representation on them is not produced exclusively on the job, but is taught in police academies as a subtext of professional socialization.
Article
Using a national survey of law enforcement agencies, this study (1) measured agencies' ability to fill sworn positions, (2) identified the strategies used to attract and hire females and minorities, (3) measured agencies' success in filling sworn positions with females and minorities, and (4) measured through negative binomial regression the impact of agency strategies and agency/jurisdiction characteristics on levels of female and minority applications and hires. The results indicated great variation in agencies' ability to fill sworn positions and fill them with females and minorities and considerable variation in the extent to which mechanisms are used to attract females and minorities to policing. Just one in five agencies has adopted targeted recruitment strategies for women and minorities. Agency success in attracting the applications of and hiring females and minorities varies greatly. The multivariate analyses indicate that recruiting budget and targeting minorities and women do positively affect hiring.
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Few studies had examined the stability of motivations for becoming a police officer over time, especially among minority and female officers. Moreover, research had not explored the links between original motivations and job satisfaction, a likely proxy measure of motivation fulfillment. The current research was a follow-up to Raganella and White (2004) who examined motivations among academy recruits in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Using the same survey and analysis, this study re-examined motivations among officers from the same NYPD recruit class after six years on the job, and explored both motivation stability and the relationships among motivations and job satisfaction. Results suggested that motivations have remained highly stable over time, regardless of officer race/ethnicity and gender. Findings also suggested that White male officers were most likely to report low job satisfaction, and that there is a link between low satisfaction and unfulfilled motivations. Moreover, dissatisfied officers were much less likely to have expressed strong commitment to the profession through their original motivations, suggesting that low commitment up front may lead to low satisfaction later on. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for police departments, particularly with regard to recruitment and retention practices and efforts to achieve diversity.
Article
This study reports on the incorporation of female officers into the Atlanta Bureau of Police Services which until recently had an all-male occupational subculture. Fieldwork techniques included one-year of participant observation and the structured interviewing of 50 police officers. Findings indicated that women have been acculturated into the behavior and attitudes characteristic of the male police group. Specifically, they express increased cynicism and distrust of the public, and their behavior is abrupt with an unsympathetic demeanor. Conversely, women police officers have not been accepted as equally capable as male police officers by the latter. This discriminatory reaction results in a male overprotective attitude which is expressed in male domination of both detective and uniformed officers' work. These findings are congruent with the data from other studies which examined occupations in which women were numerically rare (tokens). The author concludes that because females emulate the male officers' ethos and behavior, and because they have not been accepted as equals in the police group, they have not greatly changed the male subculture of policing.
Article
The women of United States police departments challenge traditional gender role expectations by exhibiting equal competence in a job with a masculine identity. Women also modify police culture in a myriad of ways, one of which is through the special work-related needs that accompany motherhood. Results from a survey of police officers suggest that gendered perceptions regarding work and family persist indicating that a value shift within police departments has occurred. Findings derived from qualitative responses suggest that women’s entry in policing, along with shifting societal attitudes about work and family, could transform the institution’s “hegemonic masculinity,” an enduring characteristic of many police departments.
Article
Women in policing have been the subject of considerable study for the past 20 years. While women perform as well as men in various patrol assignments and situations, they still face a significant amount of disapproval from the male police personnel population. Citizens, however, have shown a greater acceptance of women in this male-dominated occupation and a greater confidence in women’s abilities to effectively perform difficult patrol tasks. The purpose of the present research is to determine the perceptions that residents of two Kentucky counties have of female patrol officers and if those perceptions affirm previous findings. The socioeconomic foundations for those residents’ perceptions are also examined. The research instrument consisted of 17 closed-ended and matrix questions. Two hundred responses were obtained. The results of this study will indicate the public’s growing acceptance of women in this non-traditional gender role, which is a requisite development for the overall objective of attaining equality and equity for women in police work. Recommendations are presented for the purposes of explaining the inevitable changes in the gender makeup and purposes of police work and the need for police personnel and the public to accept those changes.
Article
Although women constitute more than 50% of the United States’ population, their percentage among police officers is approximately 9%. Despite being relatively new to policing as fully accepted officers, their growth in numbers should be higher. Nevertheless, such growth may be stagnant. The reasons for this phenomenon are still under examination, and any research that can shed light on this quandary is useful. This article examines job satisfaction among police officers and whether there is a difference by gender. The belief is that if job satisfaction among women police officers is low, this could reflect why more women are not entering law enforcement. However, the data analyzed from a purposive sample of 2,309 male and 309 female officers suggest that there is little difference in job satisfaction solely by gender.
Article
Most of the empirical literature on gender and policing has assessed gender differences in arrest levels and police use of force. While simple gender differences in police behavior are important for understanding skills men and women bring to the policing occupation, research must also determine under what conditions gender differences emerge and what factors impact the relationship between officer gender and behavior for this knowledge to be constructive. Although sexy, arrest and force decisions occur when police discretion is often limited, adding little to the knowledge of how gender affects everyday police-citizen encounters. Using data from systematic social observations of police-citizen encounters in St. Petersburg, Florida and Indianapolis, Indiana, this article replicates past analyses of gender differences in police utilization of controlling and supporting behaviors, but also extends the analyses by assessing the possible impact of intervening situational and organizational characteristics, determining under what conditions female officers utilize different behaviors from their male counterparts. The findings provide mixed support for the general hypothesis of gender-specific responses. Consistent with previous literature, this research suggests that women are much less likely than men to utilize extreme controlling behavior, such as threats, physical restraint, search, and arrest. Surprisingly, the findings do not confirm that women are more likely than men to use supporting behaviors, even when controlling for women's greater likelihood to hold community policing assignments. These findings, while unexpected, are important. Simply assuming female officers manifest stereotypically feminine traits in policing tasks is clearly an overly simplistic conceptualization of the meaning and impact of gender in policing. The implications for female officers, policing, and future research are discussed.
Article
Police departments have come under increasing pressure from community groups, professional organizations, and their constituents to hire more female and minority officers. Although prior research suggested that there might be both gender and racial differences in the factors influencing the decision to enter police work, much of the work was dated and findings were mixed. The current research, conducted in spring 2002, examined motivations for entering police work among a sample of 278 academy recruits in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Findings indicated that motivations for becoming a police officer were similar regardless of race or gender, and the most influential factors were altruistic and practical, specifically the opportunity to help others, job benefits, and security. Minor differences did emerge among male and female recruits, as well as among Whites, Hispanics, and African Americans, but the practical implications of those differences seemed limited. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for recruitment efforts as police departments seek to draw more diverse applicant pools and build more representative law enforcement agencies.
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
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Typescript. Thesis (Ph. D.)--American University, 1977. American University, Dept. of Sociology. Dissertation advisor: Muriel Cantor. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 292-306). Diss. Abstracts: 38:3742A, Dec. 1977. University Microfilms, Inc. order no. 77-27442.
Article
In the United States, programs of higher education in criminology and criminal justice underwent rapid growth throughout the 1970s. In Canada, however, the picture was verydifferent. In 1975, when the undergraduate program in Criminology was instituted at Simon Fraser University (SFU), it was the first program of its kind to be offered at an English speaking Canadian university. In order to provide some preliminary data on the usefulness of a university degree in Criminology within the Canadian context, a questionnaire based survey was conducted in 1981 to examine the career and educational patterns of the 236 students who had graduated from the SFU Criminology program between 1977 and 1981. The data depicted a reasonably favorable employment situation for these graduates, with rates of employment, job satisfaction, and salaries being relatively high. Probation/Parole was the most frequently cited career ambition and ranked as the major area of degree-related employment at the time of the survey. Correctional institutions was cited as the least desired career goal, but was the major area of initial post-graduation employment. Marked differences occured when men and women were compared with respect to job satisfaction, type of employment, salaries, continued education, and evaluation of undergraduate educational experiences. Comparisons are made with other post-secondary graduates in Canada during this period and with some of the U.S. findings. Implications of the research are discussed with respect to the present economic climate and labor market realities for Bachelor of Arts graduates in Criminology in Canada.
Article
This article identifies the characteristics of police officers (officers' background attributes, arrest activity, and assignment) who most frequently receive complaints from citizens regarding the use of excessive force. The data for the study were obtained from a large mid-western municipal police department. The results show that arrest activity, officer age, and officer gender are most strongly related to the receipt of citizen's complaints about excessive force and differentiate high-complaint officers from low-complaint officers. Implications of the findings are discussed.
Stop and frisk: The use and abuse of a controversial policing tactic
  • M D White
  • H F Fradella
White, M. D., & Fradella, H. F. (2016). Stop and frisk: The use and abuse of a controversial policing tactic. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Policewomen on patrol: Final report
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Bloch, P. B., & Anderson, D. (1974). Policewomen on patrol: Final report. Washington, DC: Police Foundation.
Police facing prosecution more often, but it's still rare. The Christian Science Monitor
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Gass, H. (2015, October 28). Police facing prosecution more often, but it's still rare. The Christian Science Monitor [Online]. Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2015/1028/Police-facing-prosecution-moreoften-but-it-s-still-rare
Dragons and dinosaurs: The plight of patrol women
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Hale, D. C., & Wyland, S. M. (1999). Dragons and dinosaurs: The plight of patrol women. In Policing perspectives: An anthology (pp. 450-458). Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury.
Improving the recruitment of women in policing: An investigation of women's attitudes and job preferences (NCJ 186482). Police Chief
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Campbell, D. J., Christman, B. D., & Feigelson, M. E. (2000). Improving the recruitment of women in policing: An investigation of women's attitudes and job preferences (NCJ 186482). Police Chief, 67, 18-28.