Police Reform (2/10): “More Women Officers”

“Defund the police

There is a tidal wave of negative publicity regarding police brutality and excessive force.  Because of police misconduct, and criminal conduct, there is a growing movement to “defund the police. “

Black Lives Matter has called for the “national defunding of police.” “Defund” means to “withdraw funding from.”

Some activists want to completely defund and eliminate police altogether. One leader explained, “When activists say they want to defund the police, they ‘100%’ mean they want no more police.” The Minneapolis city council unanimously pledged to abolish the city’s police.

Other activists, want to reduce police budgets and transfer that money to hire unarmed responders, who are trained in mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, etc.

Winston Churchill observed that democracy is the “worst form of government – except all others.”  That is how I view our law enforcement and criminal justice systems.

Police should not be completely defunded; they should be defended.  They should be improved, not disbanded. They should be reformed, not rejected. “Don’t throw out baby with the bathwater.”

There is always room for improvement. I don’t claim to be an expert in police reform.  I haven’t done any experiments or studies or major research projects. These are just my personal recommendations based on 40+ years of experience as a prosecutor and criminal law judge.

Women officers are less violent

I am not aware of a single complaint against a woman officer for excessive force or police brutality.  None of the high publicity videos of police brutality involve female cops.

Violent confrontations often arise when an officer with a male ego and attitude, collides with a suspect with a male ego and attitude.  That is a critical mass for violenceregardless of race.

As a prosecutor, I worked with a large police department that had no women officers.

I noticed that prisoners from that department charged with resisting the police always wound up in the hospital. I mentioned this to a senior officer. He boasted, “We won’t start a fight, but we will finish it.  And I guarantee we will win.”

I did have one case that almost turned into a violent confrontation between a male suspect and a rookie woman officer.  During field training, a suspect shouted vulgar names at the female cop. She ignored it. After all, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Then, her male training officer intervened.

Trainer: “Are you going to let him get away with that!” 
Trainee: “Why not? It’s not illegal.”
Trainer: “You must defend the badge.”
Trainee: “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Trainer: “Oh, forget it.”

The training officer was upset that his trainee would not confront the suspect. A lot of people don’t realize there is a big difference between respect and fear.

Citizens are less likely to be afraid of, and threatened by, women officers. Female cops are more inclined to promote cooperation instead of confrontation.

Overall, women are less violent than men. This is a matter of common sense and perception. It is also verified by the data.

  • Males constituted 98.9% of those arrested for forcible rape
  • Males constituted 87.9% of those arrested for robbery
  • Males constituted 83.0% of those arrested for arson.
  • Males constituted 79.7% of those arrested for violence against family members.
  • Males constituted 77.8% of those arrested for aggravated assault

Women officers are less likely to engage in misconduct

I have never had a case where a woman officer was accused of police misconduct or prosecuted for criminal conduct.  Sadly, I have had cases where male cops were prosecuted for crimes involving: sex (solicitation, rape), drugs and alcohol (use, sales, DUI), and money (robbery, theft) – “the big three.”

In prisons, 93% of the inmates are men. Combining all crimes, violent, as well as nonviolent, like shoplifting, NSF checks, and forgery, 74% of arrestees are men.

Therefore, if we want fewer cases of police brutality and excessive force, if we want fewer cases of police misconduct or criminal conduct, we must to hire and promote more women.

Additional advantages of women officers

There are a lot of other advantages of women officers. For example, flirty women drivers are less likely to talk female officers out of issuing tickets.

Plus, some victims and witnesses feel more comfortable cooperating with female officers.  This is especially true in cases of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

Women officers can be very effective in other unique ways. For example, one of the best narcotics officers I worked with was a woman who mimicked a very heavy eastern European accent.  The drugs dealers never thought a “foreign woman” would be an undercover cop.

In sum, one of the best ways to improve the effectiveness and reputation of law enforcement is to hire more women officers. A simple change with huge benefits.

(See: “Sex Differences in Crime,” Wikipedia.)

(Police Reform Articles: Posted Every Other Friday/ For other Articles: http://www.londonedition.net)

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