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March 18, 2005


dave munger

I wish I could remember where I read it, but there was an article not long ago that suggested that women were *better* police officers than men.

Despite the overhyped Atlanta example, women tend to reduce the number of deaths at crime scenes (of both criminals and innocents) because they're not as trigger happy as men, and are better talking criminals out of choosing violent options.

That said, either two women or a very large man guarding this guy probably would have prevented the incident.


I would bet that in many confrontations, too many male cops trigger an alpha-male response in too many men.

However, as you note, this incident is not the best way to illustrate that.


I wish I could remember where I read it, but there was an article not long ago ...

Oh. Wait. I do remember.

It was in that very same Ann Coulter article being cited.

She sort of kinda poked fun at columnists who vaguely quoted dimly remembered studies that nobody else ever heard of.

"The anonymous 'studies' about female officers invariably demonstrate that women make excellent cops – even better cops than men! One such study cited an episode of 'She's the Sheriff,' starring Suzanne Somers. "

And she, like, provided names and dates and citations and that kind of , you know, academic shit to studies about women cops.

John R. Lott Jr., "Does a Helping Hand Put Others at Risk? Affirmative Action, Police Departments and Crime," Economic Inquiry, April 1, 2000.

Frank J. Landy, "Alternatives to Chronological Age in Determining Standards of Suitability for Public Safety Jobs," Technical Report, Vol. 1, Jan. 31, 1992.

I mean, it's eerie. It's like she somehow psychically precognitively deja-vu'd how some people would react and reply to her thesis. Amazing.

dave munger

I didn't want to spend a long time researching a response, Pouncer. Since the actual Coulter article was a few links removed form Tom's post, I didn't see that she was at least giving the impression of having read actual research. That said, Lott's own abstract suggests that the evidence for women is a lot less straightforward than Coulter suggests:

"There is no consistent evidence that crime rates rise when more women are hired, and this raises questions about whether norming tests or altering their content to create equal pass rates is preferable."


Hi Dave.

No offense intended, and apologies for any inadvertantly inflicted.

My point isn't about the research or conclusions drawn from it. My amusement derives from how predictable we've become in such matters.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Coulter didn't say anything about crime rates rising--except for assaults on police officers--she's making a different point:

It turns out that, far from "de-escalating force" through their superior listening skills, female law enforcement officers vastly are more likely to shoot civilians than their male counterparts. (Especially when perps won't reveal where they bought a particularly darling pair of shoes.)

Unable to use intermediate force, like a bop on the nose, female officers quickly go to fatal force.

According to Lott's analysis, each 1 percent increase in the number of white female officers in a police force increases the number of shootings of civilians by 2.7 percent.

Adding males to a police force decreases the number of civilians accidentally shot by police. Adding black males decreases civilian shootings by police even more. By contrast, adding white female officers increases accidental shootings.

Bill Arnold

Can't find a link to an actual PDF or PS of Lott's paper. (He does seem to believe that guns are good, more guns better, I observe.)

Does his paper address the possible positive public safety benefits of preferentially hiring very large and muscular police officers? (trying to maximize some quantification of the ability to intimidate, not just simple body mass)

richard mcenroe

Oh, suuuuuure, we're supposed to take the word of a buncha white males that she's a strong female voice...


Does his paper address the possible positive public safety benefits of preferentially hiring very large and muscular police officers?

The market has spoken! My very casual survey of barroom bouncers suggests that size and gender are key qualifications.

And good point, richard. Only other women can truly decide if she is a strong voice. In fact, only Susan Estrich can decide - if she has not heard of you, well, forget it.

In double fact, if a woman speaks with a strong voice in the forest, but Susan Estrich is not there to hear it, she has not made a sound.

William Cox

The full John Lott article is at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/Lawecon/WkngPprs_51-75/56.Lott.Police.pdf (thanks, Google!). His conclusion seemed stronger than reported in earlier comments -- for every 1% increase (white women officers from n% to (n+1)%, I think) the increase in assaults on police officers increased by 15 to 19%. That's in addition to the quoted increase in police shootings of civilians.

Lott also attempts to quantify the cost to the citizenry of affirmative action in police departments, including analysis of consent decrees and changes in operating procedures.

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