10 Myths Causing Women to Avoid Careers in Law Enforcement
According to the Charlotte, North Carolina police department, today’s law enforcement agencies are more receptive than ever to women officers. If you’re thinking of a career as a police officer but are letting your gender hold you back, don’t. Women are being actively recruited by departments across the nation. Here are 10 of the most common myths surrounding women and the law enforcement community:
1. Women Don’t Meet the Standard
There are no separate standards for women versus men. In most departments, you are required to be at least 21, have graduated high school or earned a GED, have a valid driver’s license or the ability to obtain one, and be able to pass a background check.
2. Women Are Too Sensitive
In fact, sensitivity and empathy are values that police departments covet. Women are especially adept at empathizing with victims of crime.
3. Women Are Too Small
Police work does not require one to be physically imposing or intimidating. Being a police officer does require that you are physically fit, but your mental acuity is far more important than the size of your biceps.
4. Women Are Too Fearful
Men don’t have the monopoly on bravery. In fact, it is the rare police officer that hasn’t been faced with a situation that had them shaking in their boots. The difference between police of any gender and the general public is that police are trained to deal with these situations.
5. Women Don’t Have Self-Defense Skills
Unless someone has taken a course in self-defense, they don’t have self-defense skills; period. These skills are taught to all new recruits and are sharpened through continuous training during an officer’s career. Police officers are taught to first diffuse a situation with words, only using physical force when there is no other option.
6. Women with Families Don’t Make Good Police Officers
No matter your gender, there is a chance that you won’t make it home at the end of your shift; criminals don’t discriminate. There are thousands of women in law enforcement that go home to a partner and children every day. Having a family does not negate you from being an excellent police officer.
7. Women Officers Are Not Respected by the Public
Let’s face it: If you need police assistance, you want the police to show up. Very few people are concerned with whether that help comes in the form of a male or a female.
8. Women Officers Are a Distraction
Women within a police department are no more of a distraction than they are walking in the halls of a corporation. Sexual harassment occurs in every career field; law enforcement has no more issue with both genders working together than any other field.
9. Women Have to Result to Deadly Force More Often Than Men
There are no studies showing that women use their weapons more often than their male counterparts. There are guidelines that dictate when the use of deadly force is warranted, and these guidelines aren’t based on gender.
10. Women Have No Support
There are dozens of avenues for support for women in law enforcement. From national organizations to organizations within specific departments, women have no problem finding support when they need it.
Don’t let your gender dissuade you from following your dreams. Women are more accepted in law enforcement today than in any time in the past. If you’ve bought into any of the myths listed above, it’s time to learn the facts.
Author John Acker is an avid blogger. Want to become part of the criminal justice field? Check out the best criminal justice schools for info on degree possibilities. You can learn the possibilities for a background check in your field.