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.
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 includes 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. 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 classic video that illustrates 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 is 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 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!
And I would be lying if I weren’t guilty of this on occasion as well. You see, 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 bulletproof 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 traveling 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.
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 officer’s 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 group’s 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, those “special victim’s” who may feel shame or guilt over what was done to them better receives them generally.
Author 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. I look forward to hearing from you and as always, be safe and look out for one another.
Bart Proctor has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Strategic Intelligence from Liberty University with close to 23 years experience as a police officer and violent crimes detective. He also served as an intelligence officer within his police agency and received extensive training from the FBI and The Department of Homeland Security.
Bart started his blog, Family Safe First, to empower and inform families on matters of safety. He uses real world experiences, from a cops perspective, as a platform to deliver this message. He invites you to follow his work.