A Simple Solution to Policing Problems: Women! Academic Article uri icon


  • Ruggs et al. (2016) describe paths through which industrialorganizational (I-O) psychology can make a dent in the ongoing policing problems in the United States. These paths include traditional I-O areas such as improved selection models, increased training, and changed organizational climates. However, there might be one fairly straightforward way in which police organizations can quickly reduce use-of-force problems: women. Because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prevents selection based on sex, police departments obviously cannot hire women just because they are women. But police departments can and, we argue, should recruit more women to apply for police officer positions, create work practices and experiences that are attractive to and supportive of women (Hassell & Brandl, 2009), and make efforts to retain female officers because of the evidence that female officers use less force when policing (Bolger, 2015). Additionally, police organizations and I-O psychologists should also work together to discover why women are less likely to use force and, subsequently, determine whether these characteristics can be selected or trained for in either sex.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bergman, M. E., Walker, J. M., & Jean, V. A.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Bergman, Mindy E||Walker, Jessica M||Jean, Vanessa A

publication date

  • January 2016