Female Cops: Why We Need More of Them

Female Cop

More female cops will benefit american policing

I know that some of my brothers in blue will call me a sell-out for promoting the need for more female cops and I don’t care. I have been doing the job long enough to know better.

Females bring a different and unique skill set to policing that would only enhance the profession as a whole. For obvious reasons, some will disagree with this article.

No matter.

We need more female cops.

Policing in America is at a crossroad. Agencies are losing officers in record numbers.

I will not insult anyone’s intelligence by explaining the major causes. The bottom line is we need more qualified applicants.

One demographic that has been largely ignored are females. Now before you start labeling me as a feminist sympathizer, stop.

Confession:

When I first started out, I had the typical male macho opinion that females were not suited for law enforcement. Over time and as I rose in rank, my attitude changed.

See Related Article: “6 Strange and Weird Character Traits of Cops”

The change started to take hold during my time as a detective then later as a patrol supervisor. I started noticing that female cops have certain skills and attributes in the way they “police” that male cops don’t have.

Here is a video that shows how differently male and female cops deal with a missing girl call:

 

This is by no means an affront to male cops. And this article in no way gives a pass to those cops, male or female, that are terrible at the job.

The following reasons are those that I have personally observed over my career.

This is not an exhaustive list but a snapshot of what positive attributes female cops bring to the job.

1. They are really good at de-escalation.

One part of the job that most cops hate are domestic dispute calls.

Cops are usually called to these complaints as a last resort. Tempers on all sides are typically heightened and some escalate to physical violence. How the officers react to these situations and treat the parties involved has a great impact on de-escalating the complaint

The term “de-escalate” has been the hot buzz word in law enforcement recently. For cops, it isn’t really anything new; ten years ago we called it “verbal judo”.

Every cop will tell you of that particular officer who will escalate any call they go to into a shit sandwich. Believe it or not, 99.9 percent of us would rather not have to fight you if possible.

In my career, I don’t recall any female cops, not one, that would fall into this category.

Male cops? Well that’s a different story.

Back in the day (yes, I just wrote that) when I started in police work, the vast majority of senior male officers that I worked with would go from “0 to fight” in no time!

female cop

One of my female cops after foot pursuit

And I would be lying if I weren’t guilty of this on occasion as well.

When I started over two decades ago, respect was primarily earned in how well you could handle yourself on the street. Most of the time, these confrontations could have been avoided.

Female cops, by their nature, take a less combative tact when dealing with irate or agitated individuals.

I have seen female cops display this on many occasions, especially when dealing with those in a mental health crisis situation.

2. They don’t let their ego’s get them in trouble.

Cops are type A.

They are go-getters. The ones who will take a bullet for a complete stranger. Winners.

With enormously big egos.

Can you blame them? Any job that requires that you carry an arsenal of weapons while wearing a bullet-proof vest requires this at a minimum.

Because of this competitive streak, many male officers, to include myself, find it hard to check themselves when they know they should.

I have seen numerous examples of this on the street, both as a Patrolman and a Sergeant. It usually involves a cop getting his ego bruised by the words or actions of a citizen that then snowballs.

Look, we are all human. Cops, both male and female, feel hurt and pain like everyone else. Female cops, in my observation over the years, have the distinct ability to calm a situation and bring a non-violent closure to a call.

 3. Female officers are just better at report writing.

I remember being 17 years old and in absolute awe of the United States Marine Corps!

My first encounter with a Marine Recruiter at my high school had me hooked.

He had me believing that I would be wearing Dress Blues on a daily basis and travelling the world.

He nailed the second part!

Not so much the first.

My assumptions about police work prior to being hired were similar. Shows like “Cops” romanticized police work as “running and gunning” and putting bad people in jail.

Not entirely accurate.

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Yes, there are times when we get to play hero and save the day. Most of the time is covered with boredom and lots of paperwork.

Lots and lots of paperwork. And more paperwork..  

As an officer, detective, and supervisor, I have written or reviewed thousands upon thousands of reports. I have seen reports ranging from 2nd grade level to T.S. Eliot.

Crime reports are probably the most important aspect of policing (other than going home each night). A report is not only a direct representation of the officers ability to write, but a permanent record of what happened.

By and large, female cops take better reports than their male counterparts.

 

4. They are better talkers.

Police work is 95 percent verbal communication skills. Do I really need to explain further?

5. They can relate better to minority and “special victims”.

This is in no way an attempt to rank or discount one groups struggles versus another.

We have already experienced far too much division in our country.

Being in a male dominated profession allows the female cop to have a better understanding and empathy to those she serves. They are especially needed when calls for sexual assault are investigated.

In some cases, the female victim is so distraught that she will only talk with a female officer or detective.

Also, because of their nurturing attribute, they are better received generally by those “special victim’s” who may feel shame or guilt over what was done to them.


Note: My hope for this article is to bring awareness to those females who may be interested in a career in law enforcement. If you have any questions about what I have presented or have other questions about police work in general, feel free to message me here or through Facebook. – the Salty Sarge

2 Comments

  1. I totally agree with what you wrote in this article. Not because I think that female cops are inherently more awesome at the job, but because we bring things to the table that our male counterparts may not have.

    I have been a cop for 16-1/2 years and a Sergeant for almost 8 of those years. I only state that to explain that I’m writing this comment from my experience both as a patrol officer and as a Sergeant, so I can view things from both perspectives.

    Throughout my career, I have almost always experienced a phenomenon that I refer to as “The Mother Complex.” I call it that because I can’t seem to come up with another way to explain my experience. What I think is responsible for “The Mother Complex” is that people are taught not to hit or otherwise disrespect their mothers and in some bizarre way, that translates into their interactions with female LEOs.

    I had a few male partners as an officer who, prior to working with me, would literally get no less than two citizens’ complaints a month. Not because they were doing anything wrong (I know this because I would be on calls with them and they would get complaints, but I wouldn’t), but I guess that they were somehow *perceived* to be assholes. Even if I was the one being a dick, they were the ones who were named in complaints, not me.

    One (former) male partner in particular averaged more than two complaints a month; after six months of working together, we only received one. The number of people who resisted arrest when we worked together went down dramatically as well. Nothing in his attitude, demeanor or behavior had changed – the only difference was that he began working with a female officer.

    From a supervisory standpoint, I find that my female officers are more genuine and more willing to do what needs to be done to achieve success – not just for themselves, but for the team.

    You also hit the nail on the head with your assessment about female officers’ report writing skills. It’s not to say that their reports are perfect and don’t need corrections; rather, they – for the most part – are more thorough in obtaining all of the information that they need to write a comprehensive report. I have a couple of awesome male report writers, but overall, the girls kick the guys’ asses in that area.

    Also from a female supervisor’s standpoint, I have found that my officers tend to approach me with issues (both work-related and personal) more freely. I have always let my officers know that I am available to them at any time and I try to foster a non-judgmental approach in my interactions with them, so I have found that they more readily approach me than my male counterparts.

    I can go on and on about my experiences, but I’ll stop here. The point of my comment is to say that I agree with the premise of what you wrote – that female officers bring with them a unique skill-set to the profession. The agency I work for (a large city in California) has done a pretty good job of hiring female officers. Although our numbers don’t statistically reflect the population as a whole, I feel like we’re doing okay.

    Prior to starting the job, I thought that being a female officer was going to be a far worse and more difficult experience than it has been thus far.

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