History and Government Faculty Publications

Challenges & Recommendations for the Aspiring Women Police Leaders

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Law and Order

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Women in law enforcement bring talent, intelligence and ability to the policing profession. Not every woman is a leader, but every woman can lead within her area of responsibility or influence. The challenges of the profession have never been greater, therefore now is the time for women police leaders of all ranks and positions to bring new ideas and strategies to improve the quality of the law enforcement profession.

Leadership means bringing both change and unity. Leadership is an intangible quality, yet we know it when we have experienced it. In spite of the multitude concepts, leadership generally 1) involves a process; 2) involves influence; 3) occurs in a group context; and involves goal attainment.

Leadership is not bound by rank or position; instead, it involves certain traits, including flexibility, inner thought, inspiration, and the courage to take risks. The women who paved the way for females in policing used their feminine personality strengths and skills in leadership to better their professions.

Many of the women in the history of policing hold “first” positions, such as the first female agent, or first female team member. Women continue to expand their roles and assignments in law enforcement. Even though these “first” women do not all hold management positions, they all have the potential for leadership in law enforcement.


Law enforcement, women