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Bulletin No. 231



The Outlook
for Women
Police Work

Bulletin of the Women’s Bureau No. 231


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government
Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. Price 15 cents



U. S. Department of Labor,
Women’s Bureau,
Washington, June 6, 1949.
Sir: I have the honor of transmitting a report on policewomen
in the United States. It is a byproduct of a larger study on the
outlook for women in the social services now underway and is
being published at the suggestion of women engaged in this field
who stress the need for more information about it.
To them, to the International Association of Chiefs of Police,
and to the many police chiefs and others in law enforcement work
who supplied information, special acknowledgment is hereby
The manuscript was prepared by Mildred Dougherty under the
supervision of Marguerite W. Zapoleon.

Respectfully submitted.
Frieda S. Miller, Director.
Hon. Maurice J. Tobin,
Secretary of Labor.



The work of the policeman, the sheriff, the State trooper and
other men who enforce law and order has received generous
attention from the press and various periodicals in recent years.
There have, however, been few attempts to bring the police­
woman before the public except in a popular way. Although the
policewomen of the United States make up only approximately 1
percent of the workers in the law enforcement field they have an
importance over and above numbers in the extent and quality of
the preventive-protective services they perform. Because this
aspect of law enforcement is receiving increasingly greater atten­
tion many inquiries on the work of the policewoman have been
received by police departments employing them and by the Wom­
en’s Bureau.
Information included in this bulletin applies only to women
in law enforcement employed by government agencies. The ma­
terial has been gathered from the comparatively few published
sources available: from the records of the United States Census;
from officials of the Federal Government; from interviews with
police authorities in 14 cities which were visited by a represen­
tative of the Women’s Bureau; and from organizations in this
field of work, especially the National Sheriffs’ Association and
the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The last-named
organization, in cooperation with the Women’s Bureau, circulated
a questionnaire to its 2,200 members in February of 1949. One
hundred forty-three cities replied, as well as the four States that
had employed policewomen, giving data on policewomen employed
in 1940, 1944, 1949, and anticipated employment in 1955.
Information on policewomen employed by cities was secured
from two previous studies made by workers in the police field
in 1945-46: a 1945 study of 29 selected cities made by a Chicago
policewoman, Mrs. Lois Higgins, which covered manner of ap­
pointment, method of supervision, types of duties, rank of police­
women and training programs both for recruits and for in-service
workers; and a 1945-46 study by Miss Carol Williams of the De­
troit Police Department which gave statistical information sup­
plied by 141 cities employing policewomen. More than 1,000 police­
women out of the estimated 3,000 women in law enforcement are
employed by city governments, and the major part of the bulle­
tin is devoted to a discussion of the outlook for women in police
work in cities.



Letter of transmittal.................................................................................................
Foreword ......................................................................................................................
Definitions ....................................................................................................................
Prewar distribution .................................................................................................
Wartime changes .....................................................................................
Postwar distribution .................................................................................................
Future outlook............................................................................................................
Variations in the outlook..........................................................................................
Requirements for entrance.....................................................................................
Training ...................................................................................
Earnings, hours, and advancement.....................................................................
Suggestions to those entering the field..............................................................
Sources to which reference is madein the text...............................................


1. Policemen, marshals, and sheriffs employed in 1940 and those in
the labor force 1940, compared with those gainfully employed
in 1930 .........
2. Geographical distribution of policewomen in theUnited States...


1. Policewomen questioning ages ofnewsboys.................................................
2. Policewomen questioning minors outside a tap room they may be
legally forbidden to enter.........................................................................
3. Policewoman checking details for court case.............................................
4. Policewoman attempting to get identifying information from a
lost child ..........................................................................................................
5. Rookie policewoman taking physical agility training.............................
6. Applicant for policewoman’s examination takingoral interview. ...
7. Policewoman questioning lost child.............................................................
8. Policewomen class marching at graduation exercises.............................
9. Policewoman giving directions.........................................................................




Policewoman as Defined in the Dictionary of
Occupational Titles (18)
Policewoman (government service) 2-66.24. Patrols the streets
of a municipality and investigates public places and recreational
facilities to protect the morals of female persons and juveniles;
investigates cases of juvenile delinquency to determine the reasons
underlying their delinquency and submits report to JUVENILECOURT MAGISTRATE; looks for and takes into custody delin­
quent or neglected children. In some places takes active part in
investigation of major crimes of every description.
Some Other Law Enforcement Occupations as Defined
in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (except where
otherwise indicated)
“Bailiff; court bailiff; court officer; court sergeant (gov. ser.)
2-67.20. Opens court by announcing entrance of JUDGE; seats
all witnesses within area of courtroom provided for that purpose ;
ushers spectators to seats and preserves order, ejecting and, if
necessary, arresting anyone disturbing the peace.” (18)
“Customs Inspectress (gov. ser.) 0-95.02. Examines and
searches the person of female passengers arriving from foreign
ports to detect any attempts to smuggle dutiable or prohibited
goods into the country.” (18)
“Immigration Inspector; immigration agent; immigration in­
vestigator; immigration officer (gov. ser.) 0-95.91. Examines
persons seeking entry into United States to determine if they are
aliens and, if so, to further determine if they are entering the
country legally: arrests or detains persons attempting to enter
country in violation of immigration laws or who have not complied
with the regulations for entry; searches for and takes into cus­
tody stowaways in automobiles, ships, and trains; supervises
the deportation of aliens.” (18)
Matron (Jail) (as defined by the U. S. Department of Jus­
tice). Responsible for the supervision and control of women
prisoners in jails. Searches all women prisoners. In large cities,
books and fingerprints them. Supervises the serving of food to
women prisoners. Attends prisoners in case of illness and sees
that adequate medical service is obtained. Is responsible for the


inspection and proper maintenance of their quarters; their dis­
cipline. Transports women to court and other institutions. Keeps
records; maintains files.
Sheriff (as defined in Webster’s New International Dictionary,
Second Edition, Unabridged, 1946). “The chief executive officer
of a shire or county, charged with the execution of the laws, the
serving of judicial writs and processes, and the preservation of
the peace, and in some cases having judicial powers. ... In the
United States sheriffs are elected for varying terms. The office in
both England and the United States is now mainly ministerial.”
“Sheriff, Deputy (gov. ser.) 2-67.30. Enforces laws and
serves legal processes of courts in rural or unincorporated sub­
urban districts; patrols specified areas to detect infractions
of law; escorts prisoners to and from courtroom or from one
prison to another, using physical force to subdue unruly pris­
oners; maintains order in courtrooms.” (19)
U. S. Marshal (as defined by the U. S. Department of Justice).
United States Marshals are appointed by the President and con­
firmed by the Senate to serve in each of the 93 jurisdictions in
the United States and its possessions. They are administrative
heads of offices who perform the following duties or supervise
deputy marshals in their performance: serve civil and crim­
inal papers, make arrests, transport prisoners, attend court ses­
sions, conduct auction sales, and where necessary perform related
duties such as preparation of reports, dockets and correspondence.


Today more than 1,000 women are working in the United States
as policewomen, in addition to the approximately 2,000 women
in other government law-enforcement work, serving, for example,
as deputy sheriffs or as customs or immigration inspectors. Com­
prising less than 1 percent of all police officers in the United
States, policewomen trace the beginning of their occupation
under that name to Los Angeles, Calif., where, in 1910, a police­
woman was first appointed. As early as 1893, however, the mayor
of Chicago appointed a woman who was listed on police rolls
as a patrolman for many years (7), and in Portland, Oreg., a
woman was assigned to do preventive-protective work with girls
and women at the time of the Lewis and Clark Exposition in
1905 (20). By 1915 at least 16 cities had policewomen (25).
But, as with other police officers, their main function until
the early thirties was the detection of crime, the apprehension
of offenders, and the preservation of public peace and safety.
Prevention of crime became important in the 1920’s and led
to the expansion of preventive police facilities and the establish­
ment of special bureaus. In the larger cities these were usually
initiated by social agencies or civic groups to deal with women
and children. In fact, at the meeting of the newly organized
National Association of Policewomen, in 1915, reports showed
that most of the women appointed to these bureaus had come from
the social agencies of the community (3).
The primary function of policewomen today is social and pre­
ventive work involving women and children (22). As early as
1922 the. International Association of Police Chiefs made the fol­
lowing recommendation:
The primary function of policewomen is to deal with all cases in which
women and children are involved either as offenders or victims of offenses.
Crimes by or against females, irrespective of age, and boys up to the age
of 12, should be the special responsibility of the policewoman. They should
discover, investigate and correct anti-social circumstances and conditions in
individual cases, and in the community, deal socially and legally with all
delinquent women and children, give or secure social treatment calculated to
result in reform, and supplement the work of the policeman in securing
evidence and convictions in special cases that will aid in correcting evil
conditions (H).

In carrying out these aims the policewoman has law enforcement
duties, investigational or patrol work prior to arrest, and the




preparation of cases for court. Investigation of noncourt cases
and referral of such cases to the proper social agency are also
her functions (7).
Her work is preventive in clearing up possible sources of
danger, protective to the individual in dealing with those who
need “warning and guidance,” and protective to the community
when necessary arrests are made. The protection of women and
children after arrest is also often her responsibility (14).
In the larger cities, policewomen usually have alternating as­
signments in which they may serve as: court worker, who submits
to court a report of investigations in all cases of women and ac­
companies to and from court those not on bond; missing persons
worker, who makes necessary investigations of women and chil­
dren reported missing; patrol worker, assigned to inspection of
movies and legitimate theaters and to supervision in public parks,
dance halls, cabarets and night clubs; patrol worker assigned
to investigation and detection of shoplifting; traffic officer, who
guards school children at crossings near schools; license officer,
who investigates applications for licenses for dance halls, tap
rooms, massage establishments, fortune tellers, and public halls;


Courtesy Dept, of Police, City of Detroit

Figure 1.—Policewomen questioning ages of newsboys.



officer detailed to bus and railway stations during day and night;
night desk officer, who takes complaints and assigns night field
workers; midnight reserve officer, who takes care of all calls be­
tween midnight and 8 a.m. In some places they assist in under
cover investigations in major crimes, investigate parental neg­
lect or abuse of children or other complaints involving children,
and have escort duties.
For the most part policewomen work in the larger cities and
several women are employed on the same staff. Some, however,
work in less populated communities where only one woman is
employed as a policewoman. In such communities, where the
nearest social agency may be miles away, the lone policewoman
may carry some of the functions of the health worker, the relief
agent, the probation officer, or the family case worker in addition
to performing the more usual type of police duties. She may
organize and supervise recreation, give occasional probation
service to the court, and aid the State health and education boards
in local preventive activities under their supervision (12). She
may also, if there is an organized woman’s bureau, have both
executive and administrative duties, or she may serve in the
same capacity as any male officer of her rank under a male offi­
cer of superior rank (26).
Prewar Distribution
The depression in the early thirties slowed up the growing
trend to appoint policewomen, but their number continued to
increase slowly throughout the country even during these
years (2). In 1929, according to a census taken by the Internation­
al Association of Policewomen, there were 593 policewomen em­
ployed in 154 cities and 29 counties in the United States (1U).
In 1930 the White House Conference on Child Health and Pro­
tection reported approximately 600 policewomen employed in
289 communities (2A). The United States Census taken in
the same year found 1,534 policewomen and detectives gainfully
employed in private as well as public police and detective
work (15). By the end of the following decade according to the
1940 Census, the comparable group of policewomen and detec­
tives, public and private, in the experienced labor force totaled
1,713, an increase of 12 percent. (See table 1.) Of this number,
more than half were engaged in the type of police work dis­
cussed in this bulletin, that carried on by governmental as dis­
tinct from private agencies. In addition to the 881 women em­
ployed in public police and detective work in 1940, the Census



also showed two other groups of women employed by government
agencies in protective service work: 383 sheriffs and bailiffs,
and 110 marshals and constables (16). Practically all of the
women in the second group were marshals or deputy marshals,
for the term constable is seldom used in the United States, though
still widely used in Canada. Women marshals and constables more
than doubled in number in the decade 1930 to 1940, and the num­
ber of women sheriffs and bailiffs increased by more than a third.
Table 1.—Policemen, Marshals, and Sheriffs Employed in 19401 and
Those in the Labor Force 1940, Compared with Those Gainfully Employed in 193 0

Labor force or
employment status
Employed 19JfO
Percent female................
In labor force 19 h0
Percent female................
Gainfully employed,
Percent female................
Percent increase or
decrease of those in
labor force 19J/0 over
gainfully employed
19 30


Policemen and detectives


















2! 74

4- 4.6
+ 4.4
+ 19.0

+ 5.0
+ 5.0
+ 11.7

— 3.9
- 4.6
+ 109.7

+ 5.4
+ 4.8
+ 39.8

JU. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 16t'h Census of the United
States, 1940. Population, vol. Ill, the Labor Force. Part I, U. S. Summary. Washing­
ton, D. C.. U. S. Government Printing Office, 1943, p. 79. “Employed 1940 : persons
employed in the designated occupations at the time of the Census (except persons on
Public Emergency Work).
„ ,,
2U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 16th Census of the United
States, 1940. Population. Comparative Occupation Statistics for the United States,
1870 to 1940, by Alba M. Edwards. Washington, D. C., U. S. Government Printing Office,
1943, p.'56. “In the Labor Force 1940”: persons employed in the designated occupa­
tions at the time of the Census, and, in addition, persons employed on Public Emer­
gency Work and unemployed persons seeking work whose usual job is one of the
designated occupations. “Gainfully occupied, 1930”: persons employed in the desig­
nated occupations, and, in addition, unemployed persons seeking work whose last job
was one of the designated occupations.
31930 data not available.

For all policemen, sheriffs and marshals taken together the
rate of increase from 1930 to 1940 was greater for women lawenforcement officers than that for men, 19 percent as compared
with 4 percent. In spite of this apparent growth, however, less
than 3 percent of the Nation’s 6,000 law-enforcement units in­
cluded qualified policewomen in 1940 (20). Most of these were
in large cities (2).



Courtesy Dept, of Police, City of Detroit

Figure 2.—Policewomen questioning minors outside a tap room they
may be legally forbidden to enter.

Wartime Changes
Wartime problems and conditions gave a great impetus to
the employment of policewomen, although the average number
of police employees of both sexes per 1,000 population decreased
steadily during the war, reaching a low of 1.58 in 1945 (13).
The National Women’s Advisory Committee on Social Protec­
tion of the Federal Security Agency was organized, composed
of representatives from 30 national voluntary women’s organi­
zations representing some 23,000,000 women. This group, inter­
ested in the war effort, unanimously passed a resolution to “aid
the local law-enforcement administrators in problems relating
to the recruitment, training, effective use, and public support
of qualified policewomen” (2) (7). In 1945 the National Advisory
Police Committee on Social Protection of the Federal Security
Agency issued a pamphlet on “Techniques of Law Enforcement
in the Use of Policewomen with Special Reference to Social Pro­
tection” which pointed out the heightened demand for police­
women created during the war by the increased rate of venereal



disease infections brought on, not through the “professional
prostitute,” but through the “amateur pickup”; by the 44.6 per­
cent increase reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
in the number of crimes committed by girls and women; and by
the increasing rate of juvenile delinquency (20). The problems
cited in this pamphlet were, of course, the result of the social
upheaval caused by the war; the large number of men in service
camps and installations; the great industrial migrations to big
cities or to raw new communities; and the dislocation of home life.
Many communities which had never used policewomen before
added, not one, but in some cases several to their police depart­
ments. Other communities increased their staffs to meet the
emergency. One State police department employed 36 women
for police work during the war only. In the 143 cities and 4 States
replying to a questionnaire sent' out by the International Asso­
ciation of Chiefs of Police in 1949, 797 policewomen were reported
employed in 1944 as compared with 562 in 1940. One southern
city which had no policewomen in 1940 had 8 in 1944. A New
England city with 5 policewomen in 1940 reported 13 in 1944.
A middle western city increased its number of policewomen from
16 in 1940 to 26 in 1944; another from 11 to 47. The end of the war
brought with it a curtailment of policewomen’s services in some
communities. In others, services continued as they had during
the war, and in some instances increased. According to one
prominent woman in this field, cities in which policewomen were
organized as a separate unit in the police department suffered
the fewest reductions in force after the war.
Postwar Distribution
The slow but steady growth of policewomen’s services in cities
continued after World War II, following reductions from war­
time peaks in a few communities. But the four States which had
women in their State police departments employed only 15 in
1949, as compared with a total of 52 women in 1944.
States.—Massachusetts has employed two women State police
since 1930. Rhode Island had two policewomen on its staff as
early as 1940, but only one remained in 1949. Connecticut, which
first employed 2 policewomen in 1942, had 12 in 1949, 1 assigned
to each barracks region throughout the State. All State police­
women cooperate with women in municipal police departments
but have legal police power everywhere in the State. The greater
part of their work is usually in unincorporated towns or areas
having no women police of their own, but they also serve in
cities upon request (23).



Cities.—Following the war, as before it, by far the greatest
number of policewomen in public service were employed by
cities. In 1945-46, 769 women police were located in 141 cities
with populations over 25,000 according to the questionnaire
study made by Carol Williams. An additional number may have
been employed in the 121 cities of this size which did not reply
to the questionnaire. No policewomen were reported by the re­
maining 155 cities to which the questionnaire was sent, but 24
of these cities stated that they employed women as “police
matrons only” (25). Many communities do not differentiate very
clearly between policewomen and matrons. In a few cities, for
example, women police alternate in the work of jail matrons.
Eight hundred and ninety-four policewomen were reported em­
ployed full time in 1949 by 129 of the 143 cities replying to the
1949 questionnaire sent out by the International Association of
Chiefs of Police in cooperation with the United States Women’s
Bureau. Four additional cities employed one part-time police­
woman each. The cities reporting showed an increase in their
1949 employment of policewomen of 60 percent over 1940. It is
probable that cities and States combined employed more than
1,000 policewomen in 1949.
Counties.—Although a few women work for county govern­
ments under the name of policewomen, most of the women in
county law-enforcement work are deputy sheriffs or sheriffs.
In 1947 there were some 3,070 sheriffs in the United States
of whom only a few were women, according to the National
Sheriffs’ Association. But, of the approximately 18,000 deputy
sheriffs in the United States in 1947, about 1,750 were esti­
mated to be women. A woman is rarely elected to serve as sheriff
in her own right, but she occasionally is appointed to this post
either to complete the unexpired term of a sheriff, usually her
husband, who died or was killed in office, or, in States where
the sheriff is limited to a 2-year term, to take the office in the 2
years intervening before her husband can be reelected. This
latter practice is especially common in Wisconsin and in North
and South Dakota. Records show that recently a woman in
Michigan was elected to two full terms as sheriff, and that in
Texas a woman who had been appointed to fill out a 2-year un­
expired term was afterward elected in her own right to one full
term but was not subsequently reelected. According to newspaper
reports, a woman sheriff was appointed in a Kentucky county
in April 1949 to succeed her husband who became police chief;
and in December 1948 at least one Florida county had a woman



Practically every county in the United States has deputy
sheriffs. If the county is large enough to employ, in addition to
the sheriff, a woman stenographer or secretary, she is usually
commissioned a deputy sheriff so that she can attend women
prisoners in jail, in court, or in going between jail, court, and
In a large number of the counties of the United States the
sheriff’s wife acts as matron of the county jail and is a deputy
sheriff. In some counties, sheriffs’ wives plan menus and super­
vise the serving of meals, and are considered deputy sheriffs.
The National Sheriffs’ Association could give no estimate of how
many of the approximately 1,750 women deputy sheriffs in 1947
were employees in sheriffs’ offices and how many were jail
matrons who are also usually deputized as sheriffs.
In many localities women are also employed as bailiffs, to take
women into and out of courtrooms when their cases are called;
to accompany in a similar capacity children who must neces­
sarily appear in court without their parents; and sometimes
to transport and care for women jurors held for jury trial.



Courtesy Dept, of Police, City of Detroit

Figure 3.—Policewoman checking details for court case.



Federal Government.—'Comparatively few women are employed
by the Federal Government in a law-enforcement capacity. There
are some, however, in the offices of the United States Marshals,
in the Immigration and Naturalization Service, in the Bureau
of Customs, and in the Federal Works Agency. The Federal Bu­
reau of Investigation does not employ women as investigators
because of the arduous nature of the duties of its special agents.
Only under very unusual circumstances are women appointed
United States marshals. The only woman serving in this capacity
in March 1949 had been appointed, after long service as a deputy
marshal, by the senior judge of the court to which she was at­
tached, with the understanding that she would hold this office
until a new man could be appointed by the President to replace
the regularly appointed marshal who had died in office.
In addition to the 93 United States marshals in March 1949,
there were in the United States and its possessions 984 deputy
marshals. Of these 86 were chief deputy marshals of whom 8
were women; 285 were office deputies, of whom about 215 were
women, and 613 were men field deputies.
Office deputy marshals are appointed from stenographic or
clerical civil service lists to serve in the offices of United States
marshals. In addition to doing their regular stenographic and
clerical work, they may accompany women prisoners while going
to and from court and institutions.
In April 1949, 13 women were employed by the Immigration
and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice as im­
migrant inspectors. With 27 other women they were recruited
from inside the service during the war and promoted or re­
assigned to this work. Immigrant inspectors traditionally have
been men, probably because the duties of the position require
“arduous physical exertion involving prolonged walking and
standing, and the boarding of land, sea, and air conveyances
for the purpose of inspecting or questioning persons arriving
in, or departing from, the United States.” The civil service ex­
amination for this position announced on April 19, 1949, speci­
fied that men only were desired.
In March 1949, 19 women were employed as custom inspec­
tresses in the Bureau of Customs. Six of these women were
located in New York City, one in Miami, and one in San Fran­
cisco. The remainder were in various customs offices along the
Mexican border where they were performing in uniform the
same duties as men customs inspectors. The six women in New
York City dressed in plain clothes and mingled with the crowds



going through customs upon arrival in, or departure from, the
United States, watched for evasions of customs regulations, and
when necessary searched women found violating these regulations.
There has been no unusual increase in the number of cus­
toms inspectresses since the first 11 women were appointed in
1940. The last civil service examination for customs inspector was
given in 1939. A few women took the examination but none
were appointed. Generally, women who have held customs in­
spectresses’ jobs have been promoted to them from office jobs
inside the Bureau of Customs. It is not now known whether
women will be admitted to future customs inspector civil service
examinations when given.
The Federal Works Agency, which operated residence halls
for women government workers in Washington after as well as
during World War II, in 1949 still had 14 women guards, some­
times called police, patrolling residence halls.
Future Outlook
An increasing future use of policewomen’s services seems
likely, not only because available statistics indicate steady growth
in this field over a number of years, but also because there is
increasing recognition of a need for police participation in com­
munity preventive and protective programs (20).
The International City Managers Association reported in 1948
that, in 877 cities of over 10,000 population, an average of 1.89
police employees per 1,000 population were employed, the high­
est average in 7 years, and an average increase of 4.4 percent
over 1947 (13).
Every size group of cities but that of cities of 250,000 to
500,000 population reported a higher average in 1948 than in
1947. The largest increase, 6 percent—from 1.29 in 1947 to
1.37 in 1948—occurred in the 10,000 to 25,000 population
group (13).
Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation publishes semi­
annually in its Uniform Crime Reports bulletin figures on the
number of police employees per 1,000 inhabitants for different
sections of the country, no method has been devised to show
the minimum number of policemen considered necessary for effi­
cient police work, nor has any official formula been worked out
for policewomen. No recent estimates are available of the total
need for policewomen, but several years ago, before it went out
of existence, the National Association of Policewomen had agreed
upon a ratio of 1 policewoman per 20,000 population as desir­



tit m

Courtesy Los Angeles Police Dept.

Figure 4.—Policewoman attempting to get identifying information
from a lost child.

No statistics are available on how many women are needed
to replace the women who retire or leave police work each year,
but it is probable that at least 50 or 60 per 1,000 would need
to be replaced annually.
Although the demand as a whole is small in this field, its
growth is likely to continue. Replies to the 1949 International
Association of Chiefs of Police questionnaire indicated that in
1955 at least 157 additional policewomen would be employed by
the cities reporting. Although 39 cities planned no expansion and
50 made no prediction, 6 cities without policewomen in 1949
planned to employ one each by 1955, and 39 cities estimated that
they would employ 151 additional policewomen by 1955, an in­
crease of 46 percent over their 1949 employment. Two additional
cities indicated that they would increase their employment of
women police by 1955, but gave no estimate of the number.
Vacancies existing on the staffs in many large cities in 1948-49
indicated a current shortage of policewomen. Authorities ex­
pected the shortage to continue some years into the future unless
more qualified young women became interested in this field.



In one large eastern city visited in the course of this study,
27 women were employed in 1947, 8 additional policewomen's
positions had been allotted in 1948, and 15 more by 1952 were
authorized. By March of 1949 seven of the eight newly created
jobs were still vacant. The-strict physical requirement was given
as the main reason for failure to fill these jobs, since women with
the other necessary qualifications could find employment in social
agencies which required no physical examinations.
In the same city, one woman secretary was authorized late
in 1948 for each police captain on the police force, in an attempt
to release policemen for patrol duty and to furnish a possible
source of supply for the woman’s bureau personnel through
advancement. For these secretarial positions the regular police
requirements had to be met, in addition to the necessary train­
ing and experience in stenography and typing. By March of 1949
only one of these jobs had been filled, again, reportedly, because
of the strict physical requirement.
Another large eastern city had 29 women police in February
1949 but needed at least 11 more. A southern city which em­
ployed no policewomen in 1940, 4 in 1944, and 12 in 1949, planned
to employ 24 in 1955. A midwestern city which employed 58
policewomen in 1940, 61 in 1944, and 85 in 1949, hoped to em­
ploy 132 policewomen in 1955.
Although the total number of policewomen in the United States
seems to be increasing slowly but steadily, the demand in cities
where the work is not provided for by ordinance or charter is
not predictable.
None of the three State police departments employing women
in 1949 indicated any anticipated increased demand in their de­
partments by 1955, even though policewomen had urged the ap­
pointment of more women to State police work, as a means afford­
ing policewomen services to rural and smaller communities.
One leader in the policewomen’s field expressed the opinion
that if State police work develops along the line of a general
type of police service and away from its present emphasis on
traffic and highway problems, the demand for women will prob­
ably increase.
The strong effort now being made by the National Sheriffs’
Association to eliminate the necessity for a sheriff ever to go
into the women’s quarters of the jail indicates a future demand
for additional women deputy sheriffs or matrons. The one-third
increase in the employment of women sheriffs and bailiffs be­
tween 1930 and 1940 and the more than 100 percent increase in
the number of women marshals and constables during that



decade may be indicative of a continuing future demand in these
Variations in the Outlook
Opportunities for women in police work vary with geographical
location and size of community. Opportunities for individual wom­
en also vary with their personal characteristics. The variations
described below should be considered in relating information of
the type presented in this bulletin to the employment or training
plans of the individual.
Geographical Variations.—Although every community in the
United States has police services, opportunities for employment
are greater in some parts of the country than in others. It is im­
portant for those planning to enter this work to know where the
opportunities exist because local residence requirements of from
1 to 3 years may limit women interested in police work to oppor­
tunities in their own State and even to certain communities,
unless they can establish residence elsewhere.
Table 2 shows the localities in which policewomen were em­
ployed at the time of the 1940 Census and of the 1945-46 study
made by Carol Williams. Both sources indicate that policewomen
are found more commonly in the heavily industrialized sections
of the country, in the northeastern and north central States.
Table 2.__ Geographical Distribution of Policewomen in the United States

United States................
Northeastern States................
North Central States..............

Policewomen and detec­
tives employed by
government agencies

by cities

Sources: 1940 figures, U. S. Census (16). 1945-46 figures, Carol Williams: Study of
Policewomen (25).

Older Women.—Many women now in police work are over 40
but it would be difficult for a woman of this age to enter the
field (10). The median maximum age of entrance to police work
for both sexes is 35, according to the Municipal Yearbook,
1948 (13). Not all cities have age requirements for policewomen,
but such requirements existed in nearly three-fourths of the 141
cities employing women covered by the 1945-46 Carol Williams
study (25).
Twenty-one is usually the lower age limit for entrance (13).
One prominent policewoman expressed the opinion that the view­



point of the younger as well as of the older woman is needed in
this work. Some cities prefer younger women not only because of
their superior vigor but also because of retirement regulations
which apply in many States after 20 years of service.
In some cities policewomen work alternately as jail matrons.
In other cities jail matrons are assigned permanently to this
work. Older women like these assignments, one policewoman
stated, because the hours are regular and there is less moving
about. On the other hand, one authority stresses the impor­
tance of vigor and alertness in this work and prefers younger
Married Women.—Married women are eligible for employment
on the same basis as single women. However, they may find
alternating shifts difficult to fit in with home responsibilities.
They are handicapped also by the fact that a change in their
husband’s work might require their moving to a new community
where residence requirements would hamper them in obtaining
a new job.
A few cities use women for school patrol. At least one such
city reserves these appointments for married women living within
a few blocks of the school street crossings to which they are as­
signed for the protection of children before and after school and
at lunch time.
In addition, in many counties in the United States, as previ­
ously stated, the county sheriffs’ wives serve as matrons in county
jails and for this purpose are sometimes appointed as deputy
Physically Handicapped Women.—Almost three-fourths of the
cities reporting on their employment of policewomen in the Carol
Williams study stated that they required a physical examina­
tion {25). Because the physical requirements are rigid and be­
cause a high degree of strength, agility, and endurance is needed,
marked physical handicaps are virtually prohibitive in police
work. Height and weight requirements are sometimes specified,
so that in some cities a woman who is unusually short or stout
or obviously out of proportion in. height and weight may find it
impossible to qualify.
Negro Women.—Washington, D.C., so far as can be determined,
in 1919 became the first city in the country to employ Negro
women police. In March 1949 eight Negro women composed
nearly one-third of the Washington policewomen. They are as­
signed to all cases involving Negro girls and women and have
proved especially valuable in all situations where racial tension
arises between white and Negro groups.




Courtesy Los Angeles Police Dept.

Figure 5.—Rookie policewoman taking physical agility training.

Only the larger cities employ Negro policewomen. At the time
of the 1940 Census, only 1,533 or 0.9 percent of all male police­
men, sheriffs, and marshals employed in the United States were
Negro. No census statistics on Negro women police are available
separately (16).
At least 70 Negro women, however, were known to be em­
ployed as policewomen in 1949, in 23 cities where they composed
about 12 percent of the total force of policewomen. In these same
cities, only 23 Negro women were so employed in 1940 when they
comprised an average of 6 percent of all policewomen in these
cities. In addition, in 1949 one eastern city reported employing
17 additional Negro women as school guards at crossings near
schools for a few hours on school days. A Southern city employs
two Negro women for this work.
The heads of women’s departments in two of the cities visited
in the course of the study here reported said that applications
from Negro women in their cities, in proportion to their total
number in the population, greatly exceeded those from white wo­
men in proportion to their number.



Requirements for Entrance
Although policewomen in some communities are still appointed
because of personal or political influence, it is becoming the gen­
eral custom to select them from registers set up under local civilservice or merit-system examinations. Almost two-thirds of the
141 cities reporting policewomen on their staffs in the Carol Wil­
liams study had such an examination (25). Qualifications re­
quired of applicants vary widely throughout the country (6).
Examinations are given yearly, biennially, or at longer intervals
and are usually the same for women as for men. Most cities visited
in the course of the present study had available a register of
women who had passed such examinations. In New York in 1949,
for example, where eligible lists established by examination are
active for 4 years women were available from the last examina­
tion. Many of the officials visited by the Women’s Bureau repre­
sentative reported no difficulty in securing women to take the
policewomen’s examinations although recruitment is a more se­
rious problem in cities requiring college training or social work
Many thought that the qualifications for admission to local
civil-service examinations for policewomen were far too low.
In several cities there are no requirements beyond those relating
to age and citizenship. In others, size and height are specified and
character references are required. Educational qualifications
range from none at all to college graduation.
More than half of the cities reported in the Carol Williams
study as employing policewomen in 1945-46 required high-school
graduation, while approximately one-fifth did not; 10 cities, or
7 percent, required training beyond high-school graduation (25).
Additional training or experience in social work, nursing, or
teaching, is specified as a requirement in some cities, or is a
substitute for educational background.
Many police executives are of the opinion that police work
and social work are quite distinct. But most of them encourage
the cooperation of the two groups and agree that social-work
experience adds to a policewoman’s value. They agree, also, that
social-work training or experience is not necessary to success
in law enforcement. The policewoman’s job, with a few excep­
tions, does not include social case-work treatment. It does include
a knowledge of community health, welfare, and recreational fa­
cilities and should demonstrate the need for additional services
in the social case-work field (20).
In order to attract college women, one city lists available



gfg uppn

Courtesy Los Angeles Police Lept.

Figure 6.—Applicant for policewoman’s examination taking oral

openings for women on the police force with nearby college place­
ment officers and has pertinent articles written for publication
in the college papers. Sociology classes are visited by an alumna
who is a member of the women’s department and personal inter­
views are arranged with interested students. This city, however,
has a serious turn-over problem among policewomen which may
be laid in some part to recruitment of young college women. A
young group with desirable qualifications is preferable in some
respects but is often too immature and too inexperienced to under­
stand fully the serious problems encountered. On the other hand,
if older, more mature women available from other agencies are
recruited, they are likely to be women who have not advanced in
these agencies and therefore are not too likely to be successful
in transferring to police work.
The form and nature of the examination for policewomen varies
throughout the country as much as qualifications required of
applicants. One city, for example, gives a written examination,
covering sociology, criminology, and social work, followed by
an oral interview. Another city, which requires college gradua­



tion and social-work training and experience, formerly used a
junior and senior social-work examination but now uses a Fed­
eral civil-service social-worker examination which covers the be­
ginning professional grades. In 1945 some 200 police chiefs and
civil-service boards in the United States used an aptitude test,
sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police,
that included questions on English, civics, government, history,
and algebra (10).
Applicants who take policewomen’s examinations have various
occupational backgrounds. There is no single source of supply
of candidates in this field. Policewomen are drawn from the ranks
of nurses, reporters, teachers, store-checkers and personnel work­
ers (20). In some cities the widow of an elderly policeman or the
wife of one who has been injured or killed in the line of duty
is often appointed, even though she may be entirely unqualified
for the work (1). During and after the war a number of police­
women came from the WAVES, WAC, SPARS, Red Cross, Trav­
elers Aid, and UNRRA. Although experience in these organiza­
tions did not imply automatic qualification, these women were in
good physical condition, and had learned to work with men and
to work in units under direction. Many of them also had had
special preparation in fields useful in police work, such as first
aid, personnel work, or social case work (2). During the war,
in view of the limited supply of candidates some cities waived
residence requirements to obtain experienced policewomen from
other communities (20).
As police work has grown more complex, both preservice train­
ing and training on the job have become increasingly necessary.
The earliest specialized short-term courses for policewomen
were given as early as 1922 under joint auspices of the American
Social Hygiene Association and the New York School of Social
Work (7). Courses sponsored by universities are still few in
number but have been increasing slowly since the first course in
police administration was offered in 1916 at the University of
California (5). The State College of Washington offers a 4-year
curriculum with majors in delinquency and crime prevention, as
well as the master’s degree for research in these fields, in its de­
partment of police science and administration. Applicants are se­
lected with considerable care and must have a high scholastic
record, robust health, and mental balance, plus the intelligence
and aptitude required for success as a police officer. A rigid char­
acter investigation is made of each applicant and a letter of recom-



raendation is required from the chief of police of the applicant’s
home town (9).
Other colleges and universities offering some training in this
field are as follows: Northwestern University, the University of
Southern California, the University of Toledo, the University
of Wichita; the city colleges of New York and Los Angeles; Michi­
gan State College, and San Jose State College. Sacramento Junior
College, East Los Angeles Junior College, El Camino Junior Col­
lege, and San Francisco Junior College also give police training
at the junior college level (9).
Training for policewomen and juvenile officers in the tech­
niques of delinquency control is given at Syracuse University,
the University of North Carolina, the University of Texas, the
University of Ohio, and at Loyola Universities in Chicago and
in Baltimore, as well as at the Bethany State Police Barracks in
Connecticut. Wayne University in 1948 had tentative plans for
establishing a regional training school for policewomen. No wom­
en have as yet been selected to take the 12-week training courses
given by the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy
(«) (7).
Since the work of the policewoman, especially in juvenile bu­
reaus and in separate women’s bureaus, brings her into close
touch with probation officers and other social workers, many
people believe that her training should be equal to the training
these workers should have (4) (6). The 1930 White House
Conference on Child Health and Protection recommended that
workers in juvenile bureaus be college graduates who have spe­
cialized in psychology and sociology, and that the executive of
these bureaus have experience in social work and limited expe­
rience in police work (24). In one large eastern city in 1949
about two-thirds of the policewomen were college graduates and
more than half had taken some courses in social work. In another
eastern city all but one of the 27 policewomen employed were
college graduates. In this city two women had master’s degrees
in social work and another had a master’s degree in law. In three
or four additional cities college education is the preferred quali­
fication, and many women hold advanced degrees. In two mid­
western cities, two experienced policewomen have recently pre­
sented theses to fulfill requirements for a Ph.D.
The educational level of workers in the police field generally,
however, is not high. Although it is probable that policewomen
as a group have higher educational qualifications than men of
the same rank, replies to a 1948 questionnaire of the Interna­
tional City Managers Association showed that out of the 823



cities reporting, more than half required only a high-school educa­
tion or its equivalent for police of both sexes (13). However,
educational requirements for State policewomen in Connecticut
in 1949 included as one option, graduation from college and 1
year of employment in probation, parole, penological, social,
group, or law-enforcement work or as a nurse, teacher, or in­
vestigator. Without college graduation, not less than 5 years’

* V~ $\

\X \



* ? > jhs. I®

I'l.Si f

Courtesy Dept, of Police, City of Detroit

Figure 7.—Policewoman questioning lost child.



experience in these fields was required, and all recruits had at
least 6 weeks training in the police academy before going on
active duty (5).
The rookie policewoman usually has a variety of on-the-job
training opportunities offered her. Of the 141 cities reporting
the employment of policewomen in the Carol Williams 1945-46
study, 42 percent had police training schools and 43 percent had
no such schools. Ten percent had police training schools, but
policewomen did not attend them. Five percent did not re­
port (25).
The length and time of training given vary. During the pro­
bationary period of from 3 to 6 months characteristic of police
jobs, new policewomen often attend the regular police recruit
school for rookie policemen. Some cities have women rookies
train with men. Others train women separately; some even have
a separate course of study. Each method has its advocates among
prominent policewomen and policemen. One director of a woman’s
bureau in a large city believes that training the new men and
women recruits together makes for mutual acceptance and un­
derstanding which may be very profitable in later work. In some
cities women recruits would prefer separate in-service training,
because of the large amount of time taken up by some of the sub­
jects, such as traffic regulations, required of the men. Training
in the police school may be followed by occasional lectures by
people prominent in the field, or by speakers from the Federal
Bureau of Investigation or local agencies. Continuous in-service
training is given through direct supervision on the job.
Courses in police schools cover such subjects as criminal and
common law of the State, local ordinances, geography, rules
and regulations, traffic rules, first aid, use of firearms, physical
education, drill work, report writing, defense, use of equipment,
problems of policemen, identification and investigation (10).
During the first 3 months new policewomen in New York City
go out with a senior policewoman 12 hours a week for patrol
and station house duty and on special assignments. On the other
2 days the women have training in the police school in such sub­
jects as revolver technique, “Judu,” swimming, first aid, rules
and regulations of the department, penal code, laws of the city
and State. At the end of 3 months an examination is given. If
the rookie policewoman qualifies in this, she is assigned to regu­
lar duty and goes out for another 3 months with a senior woman.
A 10-week training course for women in a midwestern city
includes the following topics:


Rules and regulations in the district
State laws and ordinances
Criminal offenses
Juvenile court law
Child labor, compulsory education and laws concerning children
Juvenile delinquency
Program of institute of juvenile research
Interrogation and approach
Discipline and deportment
Observation in police work
Statements and confessions
Evidence investigations
Scientific crime laboratory
Courtroom behavior
Technique of arrest and searching
Suppression of prostitution
Personal identification (by means of scars, etc.)
First aid
Study of police cases and how handled
Investigation of hypothetical case
Social service
Social services in the courts
Social work in relation to police work
Social agencies in the city
Social investigations
Firearms and service weapons
Psychological factors in personality
Sex cases
Criminology, and
Abnormal behavior problems

It is the opinion of some women prominent in police work
that the best in-service training, after training in the police
academy is completed, is through cooperative courses worked
out by the police department in conjunction with nearby uni­
versities and colleges. One middle western city was preparing
such a program in 1948.
A closely related type of in-service training is in effect at the
Delinquency Control Institute of the University of Southern Cali­
fornia which gives a 12-week training course three times yearly
to selected young officers. Regular classes are held 4 days a week
and the fifth day is devoted to supervised field work in local
juvenile bureaus and other related agencies. Attendance is lim­
ited to 20 students for each 12-week term; 16 selected from peace
officers employed in either police or sheriff’s departments and 4
in parole, probation, or district attorney’s offices, or in attendance
work or social work {21).
The purpose of this program, begun in 1946, is to merge the



practical approach of peace officers and allied groups with the
academic approach of a university in order to give specialized
training in understanding and working with youth {21).
All students are required to have the recommendation of the
chief of police, sheriff, or other chief administrator from their
place of residence, and their salaries are usually paid by the em­
ploying agency during the 12-week course. Full scholarships are
available. Courses include social aspects of delinquency control,
legal aspects of delinquency prevention, administrative aspects of
delinquency control, clinics in delinquency control, conditioning
factors in juvenile delinquency, delinquency prevention techniques,
special police techniques, techniques of learning and teaching,
fieldwork {21).
The entire probationary period is in a sense a training period
for the new policewoman, and some authorities think the proba­
tionary period should be extended to 1 year in order to eliminate
personalities unfit for this type of work.
The Fraternal Order of Police with headquarters in Phila­
delphia is a national organization open for membership to any
law-enforcement officer, regardless of race, creed, or sex. It pub­
lishes a magazine called “The Peace Officer.”
There is at present no national organization of policewomen
only. The National Association of Policewomen, organized in 1915
at the National Conference of Charities and Corrections (which
later became the National Conference of Social Work), was
discontinued in 1932 following the death of its president and
financial sponsor (7).
A regional association of policewomen exists in New England.
California, Connecticut, and Illinois have State associations. In
Illinois in March 1949, 58 out of a possible 94 policewomen in
the entire State were members of the State association. This
group was organized in April 1948 and publishes a mimeographed
magazine several times yearly.
In many cities women police belong to a local association of
police men and women of the same rank, and share the same
benefits as the men. New York City has a Policewoman’s En­
dowment Association.
Earnings, Hours, and Advancement
Often, but not always, policewomen receive the same salaries
as policemen. Slightly more than one-half of the 141 cities em­



ploying policewomen in 1945-46, for instance, offered women
the same pay as men (25).
In 1945, the median entrance salary for patrolmen, according
to the Municipal Yearbook 1948 of the International City Man­
agers Association, ranged from $1,825 in cities with a popula­
tion of 10,000 to 25,000 to $2,164 in cities of over 500,000 popu­
lation. The corresponding range in median maximum salary for
patrolmen in 1945 was from $2,040 to $2,648 (13). The Carol
Williams study reported the average minimum salary for police­
women in 1945-46 as $1,868, and the average maximum as
$2,145. Although these figures are not exactly comparable with
those from the Municipal Yearbook, indications are that police­
women tend to be at the lower end of the salary scale as com­
pared with patrolmen generally. This is undoubtedly due to the
effect on the average of the lower pay of policewomen in the 51
cities, more than a third of the total reporting in the Carol Wil­
liams study, that did not have equal pay for men and women (25).
That salaries in police work in cities of all sizes have been in­
creasing is shown in detailed tables published in the Municipal
Yearbook. In 1948, the median beginning salary for patrolmen
ranged from $2,250 in cities with a population of 10,000 to 25,000,
to $2,711 in the largest cities of over 500,000 population. The
corresponding medians for maximum salaries ranged from $2,460
to $3,210. As compared with the wartime year of 1944, these
figures show increases ranging from about $450 to nearly $600
on both minimum and maximum median salaries (13).
In most of the 14 cities visited in the course of the present
study, policewomen’s salaries were said to be equivalent to those
of so-called white-collar workers generally. Salary increments of
approximately $80 to $150 a year for the first 5 to 7 years’ serv­
ice were common. Many cities now pay a yearly cost-of-living
bonus of from $300 to $600, but this may be withdrawn at any
Policewomen, like policemen, customarily receive sick leave
with pay, annual vacation with pay, and, usually, adequate pen­
sions at retirement (23). Three-fourths of the cities employing
policewomen in 1945-46 were found to have pension systems for
women as well as for men (25). The Municipal Yearbook 1948
gives the median compulsory retirement age as 65 in the smaller
cities, 68 in the 250,000 to 500,000 population group, and 70 in
the over 500,000 population group (13). Washington, D. C., has
a plan for voluntary retirement after 25 years of service; in
New York City retirement is possible after 20 years of service
with no age limit specified. Policewomen often receive free medical


. ■



Courtesy Los Angeles Police Dept.

Figure 8.—Policewomen class marching at graduation exercises.

services when injury, accident, or illness results from the job.
In practically all of the States, workmen’s compensation laws
cover State employees in whole or in part (17').
Members of the police force often must provide themselves
with all personal equipment needed. However, a study of 26
cities comparable in size to Washington, D. C., made in November
1948 by the Washington Police Association, showed that half
the cities provided partial or full first equipment allowance. Uni­
forms are a large part of the equipment expense for men, but
except in one or two cities, uniforms are not required for women.
In New York City, however, where uniforms are required, the
total cost of equipment to a new policewoman recruit in early
1949 was about $200. Included were summer and winter uniform,
overcoat, hat, shirt, shoes, pistol, holster bag, shield, memo book,
and handcuffs. Equipment for policewomen in most cities would
include a revolver, if required by regulations, holster or hand
bag, shield, and possibly handcuffs.
Women in New York City wear their uniforms at large pa­
rades or similar gatherings, on block patrol, park patrol, or for
special escort duty. Most of their work in New York City, as in
other cities, is done in plain clothes, which must be adapted to the



type of duty and to the neighborhood in which the policewoman
is working.
Although a 48-hour workweek with an 8-hour day and rotating
shifts is observed generally, policewomen must in emergencies
work long, irregular hours, and often at night. When there are
several women on the staff, three shifts are worked daily, in­
cluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. In one large eastern
city the shifts are 8 to 4, 4 to 12, and 12 to 8. All women in
this city have 48 hours off after a 6-day week on one of these
shifts. When there are only one or two women on the staff, a day
shift only is worked, but the women are on call during the re­
maining hours (26).
Lack of advancement in rank is a serious drawback to all
policewomen except those employed in cities having police­
women’s divisions as a special unit of the police department.
Thirty-five percent of the cities reporting in the Carol Williams
1945-46 study had special units of this type (25). In some of
the larger cities with this type of organization there is a sizeable
woman’s bureau with a woman director, who often has the rank
of captain and who reports directly to the chief of police (11) (7).
Advancement to corporal, sergeant, and lieutenant is possible,
sometimes upon successful completion of promotional examina­
tions. In more than one-half of the cities reporting in the Carol
Williams study there were no special units for policewomen; a
policewoman worked as a member of the detective bureau, a
bureau of missing persons, or in any one of a number of other
regular police departments. In addition, some cities reporting in
this study employed only one or two women who were not
attached to any police department unit but still did not con­
stitute a unit of their own. In neither of the two latter types of
organization is advancement likely. Policewomen in these cases
have the same rank as policemen or patrolmen. The woman in
charge of police activities usually retains the same rank as the
policewomen she supervises but often receives pay equivalent to
that of a house sergeant, a lieutenant, or a detective. Salary in­
creases within a given rank are usually the same for men and
women under local civil service regulations for the first 5 or 7
years of experience, but where there is no special woman’s bureau
there is usually no promotion in rank. Lack of rank makes for
difficulty in matters of administration and for lessened prestige,
according to one prominent policewoman, for women resent tak­
ing orders from a superior without rank, even though she is a
civil-service or merit-system appointee.
One prominent policewoman believes that advancement for



women beyond patrolman is to some extent hampered by the
fact that a definite relationship usually exists between the total
number of police in a department and the number permitted to
hold rank. To permit women to hold rank accordingly would re­
duce advancement opportunities for men in the force.
In the United States Marshal’s office of the Department of
Justice, office deputy marshals can be advanced one grade to
the position of disbursing clerk. One or two such clerks whose
chief duty is to make disbursements from funds under the control
of the Marshal’s office, are found in each office. Women seldom
advance to the position of chief deputy or assistant chief deputy
marshal, although 8 chief deputies out of a total of 86 in March
1949 were women. These jobs are usually held by men since the
work includes working with men prisoners.
Suggestions to Those Entering the Field
In addition to the usual information needed before an occupa­
tion can be chosen wisely there are certain factors about police
work that it is especially important to know.
Since qualifications for policewomen’s work vary greatly from
place to place, the interested girl or woman should know these
requirements in the locality of her choice. She also needs to know
the type of departmental organization under which policewomen
operate, since her opportunities for advancement and for higher
pay will depend on this to some extent. In order to be sure that
a change in administration will not eliminate her job, she should
check to see that policewomen are provided for by charter regu­
lations, city ordinances, amendments to State laws, or by some
legal provision for a minimum number of women in the police
force (8). She should learn whether or not a driver’s license and
a personally owned car are required, and whether uniforms are
worn, and, if so, whether they are supplied free by the agency.
The National Advisory Police Committee on Social Protection
of the Federal Security Agency gave the following suggestions
in 1945 to prospective policewomen: The woman entering this
field must realize that her police duty comes first, no matter
where she is assigned. When the law has been violated, arrest
and court procedure must logically follow. The policewoman must
be ready to follow exact procedure in “getting, preserving and
presenting evidence for conviction, no matter what her personal
view may be as to the best possible social solution.” As a juve­
nile officer she must when necessary take young people and
adults into protective custody. In the case of children and



adolescents, she must contact the parents and work with them
on the problems presented. Her legal right to do this has been
upheld by the courts, and she must have no feeling that she is
infringing on civil liberties in making arrests (20).
The policewoman is a member of a team and must work in a
manner to secure the cooperation of all the team members. She
should never succumb to the temptation to withhold essential
information nor to broadcast such information needlessly. She


i § > _r

Courtesy Folice Dept., City of New York

Figure 9.—Policewoman giving directions.



must maintain a balance between extremes in manner, clothes,
speech, appearance, according to the same Committee. Her value
is lessened if she is too feminine or not feminine enough; too
sentimental in handling her cases, or inclined to be callous; too
flippant or too grimly serious. She should be neither a “pro­
fessional joiner nor a recluse.” Her value to the department will
be enhanced if she is sought after as a speaker at meetings,
but it may be lessened if she is a member of too many organiza­
tions. She should not take a position of leadership in controversial
social or civic issues (20).
Although she need not be an expert on sociology, psychiatry,
or psychology, the Committee continued, the policewoman must
know enough of the fundamentals of each of these to realize
the importance of discovering the reasons for the commission
of acts or for the circumstances in which the girl or woman found
herself—the circumstances which brought her to the attention
of the police. She should not, however, consider herself so expert
an analyst of human behavior that she reads into acts or cir­
cumstances motivations which may not really bethere(20).
The girl or woman interested in becoming a policewoman might
profitably check her personal and temperamental characteristics
against the following list of qualifications recommended by the
Western Personnel Institute in its pamphlet on “Law Enforce­
ment,” following a study of both men and women in law enforce­
ment occupations: Maturity, emotional balance, dependability,
the ability to work with others; keen powers of observation;
a good memory; a sense of humor; a sympathetic understanding
of human nature; the ability to listen and to refrain from judg­
ment until both sides of a question are heard; asense of ad­
venture; a liking for a job which is not routine(23).
Police work for women is well on the way toward acquiring
a professional status. Noticeable upgrading of all standards in
the past several years has resulted in higher educational require­
ments, better salaries, and opportunities for wider types of serv­
ices. There is still much misunderstanding of the social implica­
tions of the policewoman’s work, and the woman who enters this
field may have strong prejudice to overcome before establishing
her rightful place in the community.

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(12) ----------Woman’s era in the police department. Annals of the Ameri­
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(18) ----------U. S. Employment Service. Dictionary of occupational titles.
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