Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


College of Education and International Services


Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Robert A. Williams

Second Advisor

Fonda Chaffee

Third Advisor

Mercedes Dyer



The contributions policewomen have made in the relatively short period of their existence have led many police departments to regard women as an indispensable part of the American police force. During the last nine years a large variety of opportunities have become available to women police officers. Women have been added as sworn police officers not only in the small departments but in large departments and federal agencies as well. For the female interested in becoming a policewoman, as far as the administrator concerned with staffing his department with qualified females, there is a paucity of information available on women police. Literature specifically focusing on career development as it relates to women in this field is almost nonexistent. This study, by describing the impressions women police officers have of their own career development and goals, provides such information.


A questionnaire was developed and furnished to a random sample of 320 police departments selected from the 508 departments in cities of the United States with populations of over 25,000. An accompanying letter requested the police chiefs' assistance in distributing the questionnaires to officially sworn women police in their departments. Five hundred and fifty-four women from 295 of the contacted departments completed and returned the questionnaire. Fourteen specific objectives were examined in this study, including some seeking information about the educational level and major field of study for women, the most important influence in their selection of police work as a vocation, the need for additional women officers in the police field, important changes in career expectations and employment policies since entering the field, and areas of change predicted for women in police work in the next ten years.


Significant results from the completed questionnaire included: (1) 58 percent of the 555 responding had some college training, while slightly over half of them chose either law enforcement or social science as their major field of study; (2) conversations with law enforcement personnel was most often cited as the most important influence in vocational planning; (3) women police officers indicated by an average of three to one that they would advise other qualified women to enter the police field; (^) more than half of the women officers replying indicated that assignment to other than juvenile bureau and matron duty was the most important employment policy to them in their departments; (5) over one-third of the women reported that they found police work more satisfying and rewarding than anticipated; and (6) women police predicted that the next ten years would see more women assigned to services other than the juvenile bureau and would see many more women police administrators supervising both male and female officers.


Important data were compiled which revealed significant facts about and opinions of women police officers in the area of training, previous and present employment, factors leading to employment in police work, future plans, and recommendations. The findings of this study showed that women were filling many new roles in police work, including car patrol, investigation, undercover assignments, and administration. Women who participated in this study strongly believed they have performed well and are capable of handling nearly all police assignments on an equal basis with men. Women police officers feel that they bring a new approach to law enforcement, especially in the area of crisis intervention. Many comments regarding problems of women in law enforcement were made by the respondents and concerned such subjects as: women's unique contribution to police work; the increase of crime among women the image of women police; recruitment qualifications and training of police officers; attitudes of male officers toward female officers; and career possibilities in the police field for women.

Subject Area


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