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For many years, women and minorities were not permitted to become members of the
police force. As women’s rights have increased, they have slowly gained the ability to participate
on the police force, just as men do. The same is true for other minorities as well. When women
were first permitted to work with the police, it was often in the context of dealing with women
and children. Their duties then were much like the duties of today’s social worker (Birzer, and
Roberson, 2006). They were not permitted to go out on patrol, or actually participate in crime-
stopping activities. However, their primary role within the force was to deal with crimes related
to women and children.
With the draft of World War II calling many of the males of society to war, women
began playing a larger role in the police force. While many women were primarily there to assist
men who were unable to be drafted, some women took on the duties and role of their male
counterparts. The increased presence of women in the police force after the war ended was not
welcomed, but continued to persist due to the increasing women’s rights movement. Once Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was extended to public agencies, police forces throughout
the country were not permitted to discriminate against women or minorities.
The affirmative action that resulted from the act has increased the number of women
and minorities servicing on the force. This is one of the major contributors to the diversity in
the police force that is seen today. Affirmative action requires that women and minorities be
considered for available positions on the force. While the criteria for men and women are to be
the same, preference may be given to women to avoid any allegations of discrimination, thus
making the criteria different between the two genders.
The increasing role of women in the police force has many positives. For starters, it
encourages equality in all facets. Likewise, having women on the force can help the force deal
with crimes against or involving women and children. However, arguments may be made
against the integration of women on the force for the fact that they have families to deal with,
may have additional stress that they are unable to leave at home which could adversely affect
their performance, and that they are not strong enough or imposing enough to deal with hard
Regardless of the arguments, the importance of women in policing should not be
overlooked. The integration of minorities and women has contributed greatly to the force,
helping the police become more relatable with the public and deal with crimes that were difficult
to tackle beforehand. Additionally, having women and minorities on the force has also helped to
ensure equal and fair treatment for all types of individuals. With more diversity in the force, the
less discrimination will be applied to suspects and community members.

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