Professor of Criminal Justice, Illinois State University
- There is a positive association between female officer representation in police organizations and the number of citizen complaints.
In the article, “Citizen complaints and gender diversity in police organisations,” Rabe-Hemp and her co-author examine the relationship between female officer diversity and citizen complaints of police use of force to support or deny previous scholarship on the topic and understand citizen perceptions of police legitimacy. The researchers used data from the Department of Justice 2003-2007 Law Enforcement Administrative Management Statistics (LEMAS) survey, which includes data on police organizations, personnel, operations, formal complaints, and more from 464 municipal departments. This sample included 11% female officers and approximately 22,146 citizen complaints (about 74.9 complaints per 1,000 officers). In general, agencies continued to look into 8% of the complaints they received and 11.4% of departments reported zero citizen complaints. The results showed there is a positive association between female officer representation in police organizations and the number of citizen complaints. The authors note that this could be due to agencies with more female officers being more likely to implement formalized policies for citizen complaints therefore report more complaints they gather.