Gender Diversity in Discretionary Decisions During Citizen-Police Encounters

1033 Words 5 Pages
Police Officers have the ability to exercise discretionary control within the realms of their day to day enforcement decisions. They are able to do this without judgment from their peers. This is understood to be one of the few allowances of autonomy given to an officer. Ultimately, a decision to arrest or issue a ticket should be based on the totality of circumstances and should not be related to gender. But in reality, female officers bring a different set of perspectives and experiences to policing and in some instances, are held to a different standard than their male counterparts.
Women still have to prove themselves in a male-dominated workplace. It’s the experiences and viewpoint a police officer brings to the job, along
…show more content…
Discretionary decisions are good in a situation where police resources are limited. Police, male or female, should be able to make a judgment call as to whether or not to arrest someone for a minor infraction in order to move on to a higher priority or more serious call. (Walker & Katz, 2011, p. 350)
One main difference between how male and female officers make discretionary decisions are based upon workplace expectations. It is no secret that women have the extra burden of having to prove themselves worthy of being part of a traditionally male dominated profession. There are some who feel that women don’t belong in a profession that is known for its traditional Anglo-American (male) values. (Haar & Morash, 1999, p. 304).
In the article Women on Patrol: Analysis of Differences in Officer Arrest Behavior, it was suggested that female officers were more likely to make arrest when their commanding officer was supervising them. An interesting contrast here is that when they were in the presence of their peers, they were less likely to make an arrest. The research confirms that male and female officers are not identical or uniform in their behavior towards citizens, which leads to differences in discretionary decisions. (Novak, Brown, & Frank, 2006, p. 21) Female officers are strong and capable yet they still have to prove themselves. Even if a female officer does make a similar discretionary decision as that of a male counterpart, odds

Related Documents