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In order to monitor the growth of women in law enforcement, the National Center for Women & Policing has completed a study on the Status of Women in the largest law enforcement agencies in the country. This report examines the gains and gaps in the numbers of women in policing, and provides a picture of where women are in policing today. The report also presents the major barriers preventing women from increasing their numbers in law enforcement and lists the detrimental effects of continued under-representation of women in police departments.
Since its inception in early 1995, the National Center for Women & Policing has been a leading force behind increasing the numbers of women in policing. The positive impact of women in policing, including the reduction of police brutality, the increased efficacy in police response to domestic violence, and the increased emphasis on conflict resolution over force, mandates that we strive for gender balance in policing.
But, as this study shows, the increase of women in law enforcement remains stuck at an alarmingly slow rate. At the present rate of growth, women will not achieve equality in law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the data is clear that there has been progress only where women law enforcement officers and women's organizations have taken legal action to fight the discriminatory hiring and promotion practices and where court ordered consent decrees have forced agencies to increase the numbers of women or minorities hired and promoted.
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