SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: Cordner, G. & Cordner, A. (2011). Stuck on a plateau? Obstacles to recruitment, selection, and retention of women police. Police Quarterly, 14(3), 207–226. doi: 10.1177/1098611111413990

Summary: This article explores reasons why the level of employment of women police in the United States is relatively low and no longer seems to be increasing. Surveys were administered to all women officers and all police chiefs in a three-county area of Pennsylvania where the proportion of women police is lower than the national average. The chiefs and women officers largely agreed about the impact of many components of the hiring process. Women officers perceived more shortcomings in recruitment practices than did the chiefs, though, and put much more emphasis on the male-dominated cultures of police academies and police organizations as obstacles to both recruitment and retention of women officers.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What are some of the explanations that have been offered for why women have plateaued at 11–12% of police sworn personnel?
  2. What was the biggest challenge or obstacle reported by the chiefs that they face in recruiting, selecting, and/or retaining women officers in their departments?
  3. What were the three items the chiefs and female officers both agreed on as possible reasons for low levels of women in policing?


Article 2: Rydberg, J. & Terrill, W. (2010). The effect of higher education on police behavior. Police Quarterly, 13(1), 92–120. doi: 10.1177/1098611109357325

Summary: In the past, police scholars have examined the impact of higher education on different measures of officer behavior, most notably arrest and the use of force. Much of this prior work has suffered from poor methodologies, such as inadequate samples and the inability to control for theoretically relevant variables. In addition, previous inquires have focused on but one single behavior per study. In an attempt to overcome some of these limitations, we examine the effect of officer education on three key decision-making points (i.e., arrest, search, and use of force) by relying on observational data from two medium-sized cities. The results of the analysis indicate that higher education carries no influence over the probability of an arrest or search occurring in a police–suspect encounter. College education does, however, significantly reduce the likelihood of force occurring. Results may be due to the amount of discretion officer’s exercise in pursuing these behaviors. Recommendations for future inquiries revolving around theory development and the incorporation of research from the field of education are presented, as well as varying policy implications.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Why did the Reformers feel increasing education for officers would result in more professionalism?
  2. In the study presented in this article, did officers’ education level has any impact on arrest, search, or use of force?
  3. Why do the authors suggest for differences or lack of differences in arrest, search, and use of force for officers with varying levels of education?