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The number of people who would like to be a police officer seems to be shrinking. But the numbers of men who want to join are going up – at least in numbers.
And the increase in female officers is coming at a time when the numbers of female officers are dropping.
Female officers are still a tiny fraction of the total numbers of police officers; some 3.5 percent of all new recruits are female.
But some police leaders are beginning to question whether a shrinking pool of female officers makes sense or whether it reflects changing societal beliefs about police power.
“If you’re looking at a situation where women do have this power that they have, whether it’s the male equivalent of rape or the other forms of sexual coercion — they are a major reason we can’t have a police force where women are represented, and they’re doing a terrible job of representing themselves,” said John Burghardt, police chief in Arlington, Va., an area with a large African American population and a history of policing the African-American community.
He has met with members of the national organization that trains female officer candidates and has given them an update on how to best prepare for entrance tests once the process officially opens next year.
“The process of getting prepared is a long one. We’ll give you some great tips about when to think about your questions, but it’s not for everyone. You have to develop skills — it doesn’t come easy,” Burghardt said.
“The training you have is based on the work that you’ve done,” he told The Huffington Post. The organization doesn’t offer specific guidance about preparation methods and methods for interviewees but offers recommendations on what it thinks officers need to do to better understand the work that they do.
“We have great candidates; we have great interviewers; and we don’t have the same expectations as a traditional company of male officers,” Burghardt said. “We think we can be a force for good.”
A 2011 study, commissioned by the National Police Commission, estimates that there will be about 6,500 female officers in the United States by the year 2016. At that time, only about 1,600 of those women would be in positions of authority such as chief of departments. The research also found that a majority of women who enter the police academy — 51 percent — will leave by their final year, and of
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