AMERICAN POLITICS & PUBLIC POLICY WORKSHOP
Abstract: The summer of 2020 saw renewed efforts to reform policing in the U.S. in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. While many proposed reforms centered on agency practices and tactics, some have called for a different type of reform: that police departments hire more female officers. Initiatives such as 30 by 30 advocate for increasing the number of women officers, arguing that women engage in different behaviors in ways that will reduce incidents of police misconduct and violence and ultimately enhance the levels of trust civilians place in the police. In this work we address these arguments head-on. Using administrative records, we test whether women officers are associated with better aggregate level outcomes for the communities they serve and whether women produce better individual level outcomes for the civilians they interact with. We then draw on original survey data to evaluate how the public responds to forces with higher levels of gender diversity. Our findings have important implications for the literatures in political science and public administration and speak to important policy debates and calls for police reform.
Katelyn Stauffer is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on questions related to gender and political representation, examining how women behave in positions of power and how the public responds to women’s inclusion in these posts. Her work has been published in the American Political Science Review and the American Journal of Political Science, among other outlets.
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