Women as Police Officers

Each and every state has got some employees who are entrusted with the maintenance of law and order by detecting and preventing crime. Although such people are accorded different names in different states, they are mostly known as police officers who are employees of the police department. Some police officers may be required to attend to specialized duties like VIP protection, drug trafficking, child protection, surveillance among others and this requires them to have gone through some specialized training. Although police force is among the very many professionals that were originally dominated by men, currently, quite a considerable number of women are found in the profession. However, due to the nature of the work of the police officers which does not favor women, becoming a police woman cannot be termed as an easy task. This paper shall discuss the process of becoming a police woman and the requirements of the same as well as the reasons that lead to, and necessitate women inclusion into the police force.

Although police officers are among the people who live risky lives due to the fact that the nature of their work requires them to interact with criminals and the foolish people in the society, women police officers are very important because there are quite a large number of women who are criminals or who find themselves in the criminal activities. In addition, there are some cases that can be handled best by women especially cases concerning child abuse and rape. It has also been argued that women criminals are sometimes abused by male police officers and the same case also applies to male criminals. To curb such a problem it calls for inclusion of women in the police department.

Gender equality is yet another factor that has forced women to serve as police officers. Feminists believe that a woman can do anything that a man does without any social, physical or financial barrier. Most women have been forced to think and believe the same and that is the main reason as to why some women are choosing to enter in to the profession just to prove that they can also do what men can do. However, there are those who choose the profession with clear motives guided by interest, talents and capabilities. Whichever the reason, the fact is, women have featured in the profession as they have in other professions.

It is of great importance to discuss the requirements for becoming a police officer before discussing the requirements for police women. The requirements are usually many and varied but in most cases they depend with the agency, state or country. According to Zhang (2008), in United States, it is required that a person be at least twenty years of age and be a citizen of the country. In education, such a person must have completed high school and having some college level training is an added advantage. They are also required to be medically fit, i.e. the physical as well as the mental well being should be of the highest level possible. People with physical disabilities are not recruited to join the police force because their state may interfere with their output.

After meeting the above requirements, recruits are then sent to the police academies where they are supposed to finish their training. Although some agencies prefer to send their recruits to their own academies, others prefer to send them to larger academies other than their own. At the academies, recruits are exposed to real life situations which the police officers are supposed to attend to so as to enable them learn through experience. They are also taught about the legal rights, local laws, techniques of crime investigation and constitutional law.  The recruits are introduced to what happens in police life at the police academies (Scott, 2008).

Once they undergo all the necessary training, all the recruits are required to pass some examinations in order to be fully qualified and competent officers. The tests administered are inclusive but not limited to vision, physical strength, disability tests and drug testing tests. In some instances, a lie detector test is usually given to determine the level of honesty as well as psychiatric test to determine the mental fitness.  After passing all the above tests and finishing the whole process, they graduate to become police officers.

Although the discussed process is supposed to apply to both men and women, the latter undergo a longer and a more tiresome process right from the initial stages up to the time they are supposed to graduate to attain the title of a police officer. In addition, their trouble does not end there because the profession is characterized with a lot of challenges most of which would affect women more than they would affect men. To understand this better it would be important to discuss the problems that are faced by women before, during, and after the training.

Although a lot of people have been enlightened, there is still a high possibility of finding people who still believe that the profession belongs to men only. In contrast, this is not the case because women started to serve as police officers as early as towards the end of 19th century. Schulz (1993) studies illustrate that the first police woman in United States was recruited in the year 1910. Since then, women have been serving in the police force but most of the people in the society still believe that the profession is not the best for women. Due to this, women aspiring to be police officers face a lot of opposition from their families and other people in the society. In such a situation, an individual need to be focused and determined to be in a position to achieve their goals in that field.

Apart from the discouragement from family members, women face discrimination during recruitment and even while seeking employment. The society has been characterized with discrimination based on marriage and gender and women happen to be the most hit by that habit. Although a sex and marriage discrimination act, which prohibited people to be discriminated against on the basis of their marital status and gender, was introduced in the year 1975, implementing it was rather difficult especially in the police department. This is because the majorities believe that police officers are required to be aggressive, a character trait that has always been associated with men. The successful candidates are expected to exhibit masculine qualities since it has been assumed that such qualities are very important in police work.

Women police officers or women recruits have to work extremely hard so as to be fully integrated into the police department. To qualify, women are supposed to work extremely hard to appear as if they posses the masculine characteristics. The problem intensifies especially where the women involved are small bodied, in view of the fact that weight and height are considered during police recruitment. Women may be required to work extremely hard to increase their weight through attending numerous weight gaining programs. Most men do not go through such because generally they are mostly heavy weighted. The situation also becomes quite tricky if the women involved are married and have children.

However, most of the times, women are just denied chances to join police force even though they are qualified as a result of gender discrimination (Jordan, 2004). Any woman who learns that the sole reason of missing a chance to join the police force is basically discrimination, is more likely than not to go through psychological stress. Moreover, such a person may be required to keep on trying without losing hope failure to which she may as well consider to change the career. Most of the women who have qualified to join the police force more often than not exhibit high levels of patience and perseverance. There are also some people who become more determined when they face obstacles and most of the women who eventually qualify to become police officers demonstrate such characteristics (Jordan, 2008).

Although there are professions that do not favor marriage, police department happens to top the list. Studies have revealed that police department is the second in terms of divorce rates. Most of the police officers who are usually married end up being divorced.  This is due to stigma associated with the police department, that police are usually evil and immoral people and due to the nature of their work which requires them to be on duty most of the times and during the odd hours. It is therefore clear that, women police officers who are married usually go an extra mile and work really hard to maintain their marriages. Those who join the profession when they are already married have to prove to their husbands that the profession will not interfere with their marriages, failure to which they may be denied permission to pursue their dream.

The process of becoming a policewoman cannot be termed as an easy one. First of all, they face discouragements from people who are very close to them. If they manage that, the process of recruitment is also not any better. Although laws are there to prevent discrimination on the bases of gender, it is still a problem that women face in their daily lives in almost all parts of the world. With a lot of determination and perseverance, some women are lucky to be recruited. The training session does not favor women in any way either because of the strenuous physical activities involved. Some of the activities are also quite risky for women especially where there are emergencies to attend to. After completing the training, the tests, both physical and medical, that the recruits have to pass are not favorable either. Lastly, when seeking for employment women are discriminated against because men are thought to make better and competent police officers than women (Scott, 2008).

It is therefore important for women police officers to prove to be focused and not to give in to discouragement or any form of intimidation. They should also prove to be very persevering, and people who do not lose hope easily. In addition, due to the nature of police work which is usually risky as it exposes someone to danger, policewomen should not only to be courageous but also daring. However, even though there are some notable changes that have led to integration of women in the profession, more determined and focused women are required if at all complete integration is ever going to take place.


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