Attitudes and Perceptions Toward Females In Law Enforcement

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Green, Jessica Leigh
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Middle Tennessee State University
Data submitted by the FBI in 2011 reported females accounted for 12 percent of approximately 700,000 police officers in the United States (Johnson, 2013). The purpose of this study was to assess attitudes and perceptions of police and detention officers concerning physical and emotional capabilities of females in law enforcement based on an attitudinal questionnaire with a five point Likert scale or interview. The researcher interviewed twelve female detention officers, self-administered surveys to fifty-two male patrol officers, and one female patrol officer that participated in both the interview and survey. Data was obtained from a sample of officers employed by Rutherford County Sheriff's Office located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The findings refute some of the widespread beliefs that female officers are not accepted into law enforcement by male colleagues. The results revealed the majority of males felt better equipped at handling violent situations, but law enforcement should not be a male dominated occupation as females can handle the job. Overall, the results show male officers are not prejudice towards working with females due to their physical and emotional capabilities. The paper concludes by suggesting policies and procedures that may help increase female presence in law enforcement.