The impact of gender on police officer attitudes and behaviors

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


William S. Pooler


Citizen interaction, Criminal justice, Gender, Police

Subject Categories

Criminology | Defense and Security Studies | Gender and Sexuality


This dissertation examines how police officer gender and the accompanying traits associated with masculinity and femininity may cause or diminish hostility in citizen interaction and affect a number of police behaviors and attitudes. Social scientists have established that women's and men's views differ on some issues related to criminal justice. Likewise, this difference is also found in the perception that male and female officers have of the role and performance of law enforcement duties. A review of relevant literature accounts for the contrast in the belief that women view the work of police officers as care givers and the male officers as law enforcers. Therefore, dissimilar behaviors should be detected between male and female officers in the normal delivery of police services and these qualities should be more evident in heated or potentially hostile situations.

This study will utilize field observations and interviews, of both male and female police officers from the Rochester New York Police Department. All of the observations and interviews will be transcribed and analyzed guided by established relevant theory and literature.


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