The number of women in policing has remained stagnant over the past 20 years, hovering near 13 percent nationally. Research since the 1970s finds that policewomen are less likely to generate citizen complaints or use excessive force. In addition, policewomen are more successful in diffusing violent or aggressive behavior and their presence reduces the use of force among other officers. Studies also find that inconsistent fitness standards across the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States are one of the most prevalent barriers to increasing female representation in policing.
This presentation will review relevant federal case law regarding gender and fitness standards. The U.S. military and federal law enforcement recruit fitness testing policies will be compared to police academy fitness policies in use in state, county, and local police academies, highlighting rigorously tested models, designed to measure required physical performance levels without producing disparate outcomes.