Gender and rank attainment in municipal policing

Material Information

Gender and rank attainment in municipal policing the role career paths, mentoring practices, and education have on the promotional process
McGrath, John M
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
xiii, 152 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Policewomen -- Promotions ( lcsh )
Mentoring ( lcsh )
Policewomen -- Training ( lcsh )
Policewomen -- Vocational guidance ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 146-152).
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by John M. McGrath.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
181339301 ( OCLC )
LD1193.P86 2007d M33 ( lcc )

Full Text
John M. McGrath
Bachelor of Science, University of Colorado 1980
Master of Criminal Justice, University of Colorado 2004
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Science Center
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Public Affairs
Public Administration
' /-si

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
John M. McGrath
has been approved

McGrath, John M. (Doctor of Philosophy, School of Public Affairs)
Gender and Rank Attainment in Municipal Policing: The Role Career Paths, Mentoring
Practices, and Education Have on the Promotional Process
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Mary Dodge
Historically, discrimination, resentment, tokenism, and exclusion have been
persistent and recurring themes involving the advancement of women in male
dominated professions and occupations. The glass ceiling in both private and
public organizations, has blocked opportunities for women in pursuit of executive
level management positions. In municipal policing, recent advances by women have
shown that barriers can be broken and women are rising to supervisory and executive
management positions.
Numerous factors are associated with promotional opportunities in municipal
policing, for example, job experience, education, mentoring opportunities, gender,
and organizational culture. This research explores how existing municipal policing
culture and organizational structure in career paths, mentoring practices, and
educational backgrounds influences the promotional process based on gender by
comparing male and female practitioners who have successfully pursued promotion.
By obtaining demographic and promotional experiences from a pilot study group, a
survey was developed and sent to graduates of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

National Academy which examined differences in the promotional process and rank
attainment by exploring relationships among officer and department demographics
with their organizational experiences involving career paths, mentoring practices, and
educational backgrounds.
Findings from this study highlight the differences in individual career
orientations of women based on differences compared to their male counterparts. The
findings reaffirm the notion that promotion passes through patrol, investigations, and
into administration. Mentoring is positively perceived from a participation
standpoint, but questions still linger about the organizational benefits derived. The
findings also reflect that female officers begin their policing careers with higher
educational levels compared to male officers and then maintained that higher
marginal educational level throughout their careers.
Conclusions drawn in this study have positive implications for policing and
can assist current law enforcement leaders in ensuring career paths are made available
to female officers that lead to promotion. The construction of mentoring programs
based on measured competencies for both mentor and subordinate that benefits the
organization and community. Future research should look to investigate other
external factors affecting promotion, mentoring, and whether education is driving
promotion or promotion is driving education and the impact on public policy.

This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates dissertation. I
recommend its publication.

It was my good fortune to have had Dr. Mary Dodge as my dissertation committee
chairperson and to experience first hand her exceptional abilities, insight, and support
throughout this dissertation process. I am always taken by Dr. Dodges ability to
engage, involve, and inspire her students through sincerity, enthusiasm, and
commitment to their success. Dr. Dodge inspires me to reach out and be the best
teacher, researcher, and friend that I am capable of being.
I must also acknowledge the rest of my dissertation committee beginning with Dr.
Gerald Williams who created a Masters of Criminal Justice, Executive Leadership
Program at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Science Center that
allowed me to reengage in higher education. I am also grateful to Dr. Fred Rainguet
for his insightfulness into the inner workings of municipal policing and organizational
development, and his keen ability to identify the important issues surrounding todays
municipal policing, and to Dr. Angela Gover for her enthusiasm, assistance, and
reassurance in the sometimes-tedious process of this studys statistical examination.
I would like to thank the FBI National Academy graduates who participated in this
endeavor and to acknowledge their contribution to the protection of our citizens,
management of their organizations, and the willingness to take time out of their busy

schedules to participate in this study. I would also like to thank the executive law
enforcement practitioners who participated in the pilot study for sharing their insights
into municipal policing promotional process.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank the University of Colorado
Educational System for allowing me the venue to pursue life long learning.

1. INTRODUCTION............................................1
Purpose of the Study...............................4
Theoretical Rationale..............................5
Research Questions.................................7
Significance of the Study..........................8
2. LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................10
Male Dominated Professions and Occupations........13
Human Resource Management.........................16
Women in Municipal Policing.......................21
Career Paths Job Experience.....................23
3. RESEARCH METHODS........................................32
Research Questions................................32

Pilot Study Participant Selection ....................35
FBINA Survey Participant Selection....................36
Analysis Plan.........................................39
Pilot Study Participant Demographics..................47
Content Analysis of Pilot Survey Responses............49
Content Analysis of Likert Statement Responses........53
Content Analysis of Qualitative Structured
Interview Findings....................................56
Gender Issue Finding...........................57
Experience and Career Path Findings............60
Mentoring Findings.............................61
Education Findings.............................62
Major Theme Development for FBINA Survey..............62
5. FINDINGS FROM THE FBINA SURVEY..............................68
Demographic Findings..................................69
Experience and Career Path Findings...................72
Mentoring Findings....................................76
Education Findings....................................82

6. CONCLUSIONS............................................90
Discussion and Conclusions........................90
Research Question 1 Demographics................92
Research Question 2 Experience and Career Paths.94
Research Question 3 Mentoring...................97
Research Question 4 Educations..................99
Future Research..................................104
PILOT STUDY...........................................107
B. SAMPLE EMAIL LETTER...................................108
C. CONSENT INFORMATION...................................109
E. PILOT STUDY CONTENT ANALYSIS..........................112
FBINA SURVEY..........................................135

J. RESEARCHER BACKGROUND.....................144


4.1 Pilot study participant demographic information.....................48
4.2 Average length of time at each rank by gender.......................49
4.3 Mentoring Averages..................................................50
4.4 Entry level and current level of education..........................52
5.1 FBINA demographics..................................................70
5.2 Length of tenure....................................................73
5.3 T-test women have authority challenged..............................76
5.4 Gender mentored and by whom.........................................78
5.5 Women seek out mentors..............................................79
5.6 Women provide more mentoring........................................80
5.7 Mentoring observations for the organization.........................80
5.8 Positive mentoring experience.......................................81
5.9 Entry education level...............................................83
5.10 Current educational level...........................................83
5.11 Educational level and rank..........................................84
5.12 Municipal policy maker..............................................86

Women in municipal policing, like those in corporate America, have been
excluded from leadership roles for a myriad of reasons both internal and external to
the organization. Some internal factors have included exclusion from job
assignments that are considered necessary for future promotions and exclusion from
formal and informal networking channels between line staff and ranking officers
based on gender. The isolation experienced by women, who have had little access to
important work-related positions or supportive managerial relationships, also explains
the lack of growth in female leadership positions (Gold, 1999). Morrison and Von
Glinow (1990) have suggested that women encounter a glass ceiling, defined as a
barrier so subtle that it is transparent, yet so strong that it prevents women and
minorities from moving up in the management hierarchy (p. 200). Historically,
women have lacked the opportunity of developmental operational experiences and
inclusion in informal mentoring networks within organizations (Gold, 1999). In
municipal policing, women have faced internal barriers involving the masculine
nature of police culture and the external barrier involving the general lack of respect
for current police administration or the desire to pursue managerial positions.

The inclusion or exclusion in future leadership positions represents an area of
great concern to women. Commentators and researchers have addressed the existence
of internal and external factors that have precluded women from obtaining upper
management positions (Murrell & James, 2001). Traditionally in the United States,
men have dominated corporate and public management leadership of organizations.
Many dynamics have been cited to explain why men have primarily maintained
leadership positions; including, for example, organizational culture and perceived
leadership competencies (Murrell & James, 2001; Richard, 2001). Historically,
manufacturing, engineering, and municipal policing have been cited as examples of
occupations and professions dominated by men while professions involving nursing,
teaching, and social work have been considered occupations appropriate for women.
Statistical trends consistently show that men dominate both subordinate and
leadership positions in perceived male dominated professions (Schulz, 2004). More
recently, organizational environments have changed and evolved along with laws and
gendered perceptions that have resulted in a higher number of women in the
workplace. The experiences of employees seeking top management positions can be
examined in relationship to the dynamics of the organizational environment by using
gender in a comparative analysis.
The presence of women prior to 1970 in municipal policing throughout the
United States was almost non-existent (Schulz, 2003). The 1970s represented a

turning point for women in policing. As a triggering mechanism of change, the courts
ruled that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1964
Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination based on sex (Gold, 1999). In 1972, the
Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOC) was enacted and applied Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act, which prohibited employment discrimination based on race, color,
religion, sex, and national origin, to state and local government agencies. Because of
this judicial intervention, women began to fill roles that were long considered the
domain of men. Over time, municipal policing statistics show a continued,
incremental growth of women officers throughout the United States (FBI, 2005).
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations Uniform Crime Report (UCR),
womens representation as police officers in the United States has risen from 6.8
percent in 1985 to 11.6 percent in 2005. The report by the FBI also revealed that in
the metropolitan counties, 13.3 percent of law enforcement officers were female; and
in non-metropolitan counties, 8.1 percent were female. A survey conducted by the
National Center for Women and Policing found that women in large police agencies
comprise 7.3 percent of the top command positions and in small agencies women
comprised 3.4 percent of top command positions (National Center for Women in
Policing, 2002).
The business landscape of the 1990s saw some women ascending to the upper
echelons of Fortune 1000 firms (Fortune, 2004). In 2001, Business Week reported

that women accounted for about 3.9 percent of the 4,331 highest-paid executives at
the 825 companies analyzed (Krishnan & Park, 2005). Mink (2003) reported that
women held 13.5 percent of Fortune 500 corporate board seats. In municipal
policing, however, the representation of women in top command positions compared
to patrol positions has been slow to materialize. Several factors contribute to this
situation, including whether or not female municipal policing practitioners are
applying for promotion in numbers proportionate to their representation. As the
American workforce prepares for the retirement of the baby boom generation, there
appears to be opportunities on the horizon for the next generation of leaders and the
potential development of future women police leaders. Questions remain in the
municipal policing community about the importance of job experiences, mentoring,
and education needed by women in pursuing and obtaining promotion in order to fill
those leadership roles.
Purpose of the Study
This study explores how existing police culture, individual attributes, and
organizational structure, in career paths, mentoring practices, and educational
backgrounds influence rank attainment based on gender by comparing male and
female police practitioners who have successfully pursued promotion. The research
employs both descriptive and inferential research methods designed to examine the
experiences of men and women and the specific variables involved in the dimensions

of career paths, mentoring practices, and educational background in relationship to
personal and organizational demographics; positive or negative relationships of
organizational structure; and individual traits that may reveal fundamental differences
between men and women police practitioners. The results illuminate specific
identifiable differences that influence the dimensions of career paths, mentoring, and
education that impact rank attainment, based on gender. The significance of this
research provides updated perceptions, attitudes, and realities regarding promotion
and women and may lead to an understanding of the public policy implications
involving participation by women in the pursuit of executive level positions, the
ability for current leadership to initiate meaningful mentoring programs, and
determination about the how education influences the promotional process. This
study also illuminates those individual and/or organizational characteristics and
attributes that would be seen as important, necessary, or promising in pursuing rank
by women within those agencies.
Theoretical Rationale
Many scholarly and popular articles have addressed the breaking of the glass
ceiling in both private and public organizations by women in pursuit of executive
level management positions. Within municipal policing, small percentages of women
have broken the glass ceiling and have risen to executive level ranks within their
agencies (Schulz, 2003; Whetstone & Wilson, 1999). A great deal of research on the

recruitment, selection, retention, and advancement of women in the public sector is
available. Lacking in the literature in municipal policing are in-depth descriptions of
how career paths, mentoring, and education currently influences the promotional
process for women compared to their male counterparts. The following research
questions identify possible differences between officer demographics and the
organizational dynamics of job experience, mentoring, and education and the
perceptions of individuals who have pursued promotion. These gendered differences
become important for analyzing dynamics that constitute social realities within
municipal policing and may help explain existing conditions of the law enforcement
culture and the future involvement of women in a historically male dominated
Surveying men and women in municipal policing who have successfully
negotiated the promotional process allows one to explore relationships that may
contribute to career advancement to executive level municipal policing positions.
Identifying important elements such as gender, age, education, marital status, job
experience, size of the department, number of women within those departments, and
design of department (rank structure) may shed light on the organizational realities of
those who are promoted (Burlingame & Baro, 2005; Polk & Armstrong, 2001;
Eggler, 2003; Krishnan & Park, 2005; Richard, 2001).

Limitations to this study include the many external factors that explain the
dynamics of those who pursue or do not pursue promotion. These factors include
pay, work shifts, family considerations (Whetstone, 2001), existing departmental
culture, bias, possible discrimination, or simple lack of interest in advancement.
Internal factors dealing with promotion can be heavily influenced by regional
differences in policing around the United States. Additionally, promotional system or
systems utilized in the promotional process, such as assessment centers, civil service
boards, career service boards, appointments, and management selections can
influence the promotional process. Despite these limitations, differences based on
gender can still highlight the importance of many internal and external factors of the
promotional process that this study attempts to address.
The following research theme guides the study:
For women who pursue organizational advancement in municipal
policing, how do career paths, mentoring practices, and educational
backgrounds influence rank attainment compared to their male
Research Questions
The following research questions address the primary theme:
1. What are the demographic characteristics of women who have
obtained supervisory or executive positions in municipal policing? Do

these characteristics differ from men who have risen to similar
2. Are women police officers promoted faster or slower than their male
counterparts? Are women promoted with less experience than their
male counterparts? Do women have their authority challenged more
than men?
3. Of the women who were promoted, were they recipients of active
mentoring? What gender was the mentor(s)? Do women participate
as mentors more than their male counterparts? Do women believe
mentoring enhances organizational goals?
4. Do women officers have more or less education than their male
counterparts in similar positions? Was more education expected for
continued advancement through the ranks? Does rank increase as
educational achievement increases?
Significance of the Study
This research extends the literature on individual involvement by women in
pursuing promotion by exploring the dynamics associated with the unique culture of
municipal policing and compares the nature of gendered pathways that may influence
advancement. Many researchers have noted the lack of in-depth empirical studies
that explore women in policing and the process of upward mobility (Burlingame &

Baro, 2005; Schulz, 2003; Polk & Armstrong, 2001; National Center on Women in
Policing, 2002; Whetstone, 2001). Successful participation in the promotional
process is essential in order to gain supervisory and executive level positions in a
municipal policing organization. In this study, perceptions, attitudes, and
organizational realities are identified within the dimensions of career paths,
mentoring, and education that illuminate differences and similarities between women
and men in their promotional experiences. This research may lead to a better
understanding of participation by women in the pursuit of executive level positions
and identification of those individual and/or organizational characteristics and
attributes that are important, necessary, or promising in pursuing rank within
municipal policing agencies. The results may offer public policy insights for current
municipal policing executives who are responsible for promoting the next generation
of leaders by identifying those promotional dimensions, individual attributes, and
organizational structures and processes conducive to good leadership regardless of

The administration of municipal policing is a crucial type of public
administration. Municipal policing, as the name implies, is the mechanism by which
public policy is enforced in a democratic society. Surprisingly, literature concerned
specifically with police organizations in either mainstream public administration or
the related research specialty of political science is rare. Some exceptions to this
generalization include work by Wilson, Saltzstein, Brehm and Gates (2001) and
More, Wegemer, Vito, and Walsh (2006). Traditional literature on managing police
organizations has focused on the pursuit of internal goals such as efficiency,
procedural rigor, and organizational specialization (More et al., 2006). These works
stressed the importance of management expertise in building agencies that were, in
the progressive tradition, neutral in the application of the law and insulated from local
politics. In these respects, they reflect themes quite consistent with the tenor of
classic work not only on public administration in general but also on administration
and management in various specialized policy fields. These studies described police
agencies that were essentially classic Weberian bureaucracies, that is, organizations
marked by centralization and hierarchical command structures.
Many police management texts emphasized the importance of pursuing
agency professionalism and typically arrayed agencies along a continuum based on

degree of specialization, internal hierarchy, written procedures, and other
bureaucratically focused criteria. Other research has emphasized the importance of
pursuing the professionalization of municipal policing through accreditation (Kleinig,
1996). Suggestions for improving the performance of police organizations have
emphasized the adoption of new technologies that could enhance the efficiency of
traditional practices (More et al., 2006). Recent studies conducted by Eggler (2003)
and Richard (2001) reflect a trend to move beyond the internal mechanisms of
efficiency, effectiveness, and continued the debate of profession versus occupation to
explore the importance external environments have on municipal policing agencies
related to the promotional process, leadership, and institutional environments
involving policing culture associated with discrimination barriers and organizational
This study focuses on the gendered differences of experiences of officers who
seek organizational advancement in a male dominated profession. This research
pursuit looks at job experiences through career paths, mentoring practices, and
education levels of those officers who have already obtained advancement and to
view their experience against the backdrop of existing police culture, male dominated
professions, human resource management concerns, and women in policing.

Highlighted in the literature involving women and the work environment in
the United States are discussions of the barriers faced by women. Women often face
cultural barriers of discrimination, bias, sexual harassment, and tokenism that assist in
explaining the lack of progress noted in previous studies. Organizational culture in
municipal policing has reflected the gendered culture of policing and the ways this
masculinist culture manifests itself in the everyday reality of police work (Miller,
1998, p. 158). Policing has experienced notoriety for its alleged distinct culture and
shared assumptions. Schein (1992) noted that the basis of any culture is its shared
basic assumptions and defined culture as:
A pattern of shared assumptions that the group has learned as it solved
its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has
worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught
to new members as a correct way to perceive, think, and feel in
relation to those problems (p. 12).
This definition of culture supports the view that internal integration is taught to new
members as the correct way to think and act. Police culture is infamous for
portraying the commonality of beliefs and actions as perceived benefits to effective
municipal policing (Miller, 1998) and Espirit de Corps of the organization.
Scheins (1992) definition of culture extends the perceived importance and
influence of male dominated municipal policing practices and persona. Egglers
(2003) study of female police officers reported that female officers had had to prove

themselves equal to their male peers, at one point at least, usually early in their
careers. This finding suggests that a traditional command and control model of police
department structure requires a female to demonstrate her equality by acting more
masculine. Women officers, in many ways, were expected to take on masculine
characteristics that shaped stereotypical images of policing. Several of the male and
female commanders from progressive departments in Egglers study viewed policing
as a psychological job that requires the competencies of caring, empowerment, and
customer service, yet not overlooking the need and ability to handle the niche of
dangerous criminal element that necessitates physical strength and aggressive actions.
Current debate exists about the organizational and community cultural
perception about a female police officers ability to resolve adversarial situations.
Many male officers tactics for resolution involve direct confrontation. Female
officers have been accused of not engaging in like adversarial situations causing
possible harm to themselves and fellow officers. Statistics show, however, that
resolution without confrontation minimizes accusations of excessive force, cost to the
organization in legal expenses, and negative perception by the public.
Male Dominated Professions and Occupations
Using organizational culture as a backdrop, advancement in municipal
policing extends beyond mutual protection and into areas of shared and conveyed
beliefs about life styles, rank, organizational hierarchy, pay, job security, continuing

education, job assignment, and generational differences. Contemporary perceptions
in policing have supported the macho, action-oriented, and dangerous requirements of
duty while the community service roles are downplayed. Displayed weapons and
military-oriented uniforms support this image along with the paramilitary command
and control model of most municipal policing organizations. Early social values
defined and perpetuated the image of the municipal policing professional as strong,
authoritative men who could protect and serve the community. In the command and
control model woman failed to fit the narrowly defined parameters of what was
necessary to make a successful municipal policing officer (Miller, 1998). The
command and control model of police culture has remained a barrier to incorporating
women into the ranks of executive management status. Traditionally, the culture has
connected women officers to the social service side of policing. While the social
service role is valued from a community policing perspective, it is resisted by the
hyper-maspuline, crime control model (Rosenbaum & Lurigio, 1994).
Examining the advantages and disadvantages between a crime control model
and community-policing model is beyond the scope of this inquiry. An
understanding of the significance of approaches to municipal policing between the
two models, however, is important. Overall, womens roles in municipal policing are
viewed much differently in a crime control model versus a community-policing
model and thus possibly affect the promotional process. The primary difference

involves the perceived cultural roles municipal policing practitioners play and the job
assignments, experiences, and mentoring opportunities that may be made available
based on those perceived roles. The vast majority of literature involving community
policing notes that departments utilizing this approach are practicing municipal
policing in a progressive manner. However, community policing is still in a male-
dominated arena that does not necessarily subscribe to an organizational structure that
supports building promotion based on competencies considered important in
community policing. The predominant belief is that the municipal policing structure
remains conducive to the crime control model, highly bureaucratized police strategy,
and is masculine in nature (Eggler, 2003).
Schein (1992) suggested: Once cultures exist, they determine the criteria for
leadership and thus determine who will or will not be a leader (p. 15). This
masculine culture has historically created barriers that have kept women out of
management positions. The macho image of municipal policing has been difficult to
discard by its members and the culture has held onto its masculine aura through its
entire history (Miller, 1998). Eggler (2003) discovered that women attempting to be
promoted found it difficult if their peers and/or subordinates were not supportive.
Many female officers in the study felt they struggled to be accepted by their peers
and, in many cases, had to prove their masculinity. Women who have gained
acceptance by their peers had struggled to attain their positions and attempts to

promote resulted in renewed marginalization (Eggler, 2003) based on preconceived
notions of womens abilities and shortcomings in the organizational structure.
The role of women in executive positions in community policing addresses
new paradigms in thinking about and administering municipal law enforcement
activities. With this approach comes a concern regarding the characteristics and
qualities preferred in this community oriented police officer. The ideal community
police officer has a social-worker orientation a style that traditionally has been
beyond the purview of acceptable police action (Miller, 1998, p. 157). The ability to
develop trust and relationships with the community is essential. Some commentators
believe that the number of racial minority and female officers in the profession and in
leadership roles would be a significant factor in helping policing commitment to
implementing community policing practices (Bass, 2001).
Human Resource Management
The human asset most cited as under-utilized in organizations is women,
particularly those at the management level (Betz, 1989). Discrimination at many
levels is inherent in the culture of several societies and impacts everyday working life
in innumerable ways. Tzafrir and Baruch (2003) identified the five most cited
sources of discrimination as age, disability, gender, race, and religion. Other grounds
do exist, however, such as sexual orientation (Marshall, 1995). Nevertheless,
discrimination due to gender affects the largest population group and workplace

discrimination is most apparent in the areas of recruitment, promotion, pay, and job
assignments. Moreover, building on previous studies, Burke and Nelson (2002)
confirm that the source for such discrimination rarely is based on gender differences
alone. Tzafrir and Baruch (2003) argue that discrimination originates in bias in the
approach of top management to women, as well as in structural and systematic
discrimination manifested in organizational policies and practices.
A vast body of research provides evidence that confirms the continuing
existence of discrimination and the damage it causes to individuals and their
employers. Research shows that these [discriminatory] attitudes are social biases
with no basis in biology (Tzafrir & Baruch, 2003, p. 249). Traditional practices,
however, are firmly entrenched and can become prejudices when left uncorrected.
Some research has focused on exploring the association between Human Resource
Management (HRM) Systems and the application of equal employment opportunity at
all levels, especially in promoting women into managerial positions (Morrison, 1992).
Mattis (2002), for example, argued that organizations can and should apply specific
best practices for womens career progress.
There appears to be the need for fair treatment for all as a vehicle for the
better utilization of human capabilities, which, in turn, will be reflected in higher
performance at the organizational level. Actual practice, however, has failed to
produce this result and managerial sub-cultures hostile towards equal opportunities

have pushed equality issues out of the mainstream agenda especially in gender
dominated professions. Dickens (1998) argued that gender equality in the HRM
model is part of rhetoric rather than of reality. Peters (1990) pointed out that women
bring a different set of qualities into management, which may be needed but are
neglected due to the masculine way of traditional management.
Because women comprise approximately half of the workforce, the resourced-
based view would regard their under-utilization as a poor practice. Gender
discrimination is strongly visible in the careers of women managers. There is
considerable evidence showing that, while women form an important proportion of
managers at the lower levels, their representation rapidly declines in top-tier positions
(Adler, 1993). Appold, Siengthai, and Kasarda (1998) have argued that the
proportion of women in managerial positions is a key indicator of equity. Tzaffir and
Baruch (2003) note that equality in promotion is a matter related not only to political
correctness but also to organizational effectiveness.
A great deal of literature addresses gender roles in male-dominated
professions. Based on the belief that there is mens work and womens work,
males are encouraged to become police officers, airline pilots, firefighters, engineers,
mechanics and physicians, while females are encouraged to become social workers,
nurses, teachers, librarians, and secretaries (Schulz, 2004). In 2001, the U.S. Census
Bureau reported that few jobs were evenly distributed between men and women.

Most jobs continued to be heavily sex-typed, and jobs that were filled primarily by
women continued to pay far less than jobs filled primarily by men. Four of the
highest paying jobs included in the survey were lawyer, pharmacist, physician, and
electrical engineer and male employees represented 66 percent, 58 percent, 67
percent, and 91 percent of that workforce, respectively. Median annual earnings
ranged from $72,696 for the physicians to $61,040 for the engineers. The three
highest paid womens jobs were registered nurse (91 percent) with an average salary
of $43,108; elementary school teacher (81 percent) with an average salary of $38,480;
and social worker (70 percent) with an average salary of $33,488. The
aforementioned fields require at least a bachelors degree. Policing had a median
salary of $40,664 (New York Times, 2002). The argument that emerges is that salary
is based on societal and market demands and therefore municipal policing, like other
non-professional practitioners, command more pay. The male dominated occupation
of municipal policing has a mean salary higher than the highest paid, so-called
womens professions and occupations.
Gender stereotypes also reinforce the notion that men are more committed to
their work and generally more ambitious for professional recognition. Baldwin
(1996) noted in the military that unrepresentative hierarchies and glass ceilings are a
function of numerous phenomena including recruitment shortcomings, selection
inequities, occupational segregation, training disparities, retention failures, and

promotional opportunities. Baldwins research failed to find that promotional
processes in the military were the basis of unrepresentative hierarchies but concluded
that the attrition of women from the military contributed substantially to the absence
of females from upper level ranks. Studies by Poole and Pogrebin (1988); Whetstone
and Wilson (1999); and Whetstone, (2001) determined other factors involving family
considerations, job assignment, and career longevity impacted decisions not to pursue
promotion and therefore reduced the number of women in supervisory or command
Women have made advances in their representation in the labor market in
recent years. Women are part of the management landscape in both the public and
private sector. Statistics from the FBI Uniform Crime Report show an increase in
female participation in the male dominated profession of policing. Today, women in
metropolitan police agencies comprise approximately 11 percent of the municipal
policing workforce. These statistics, however, reflect an under-representation of
women holding executive management positions within their agencies. Many
dynamics play into this under-representation by women and include historical
organizational culture, internal and external gender barriers, and perceived
shortcomings of women in the workforce environment, which precludes contributions
by women.

Women in Municipal Policing
Many scholars believe that more extensive research is needed that explores
the process of upward mobility in policing by women. In addition to recruitment,
selection, and retention issues, police departments need to know what dynamics
within the organization determine inclusion or exclusion in the advancement of
women (Burlingame & Baro 2005; National Center on Women in Policing 2002;
Polk & Armstrong, 2001; Schulz, 2003; Whetstone, 2001). As early as the 1980s,
Sulton and Townsey (1981) and Martin (1989) voiced concerns that opportunities for
women to advance through the municipal policing ranks would be hampered by a
combination of internal and external barriers. The internal barriers they identified
included tokenism, negative evaluations from male training officers or supervisors,
and policies or supervisory biases that kept women out of the high-profile
assignments from which leaders often are selected. These actions, it was posited,
precluded women from gaining leadership roles and contibuted to a lack of
confidence in themselves and to their unwillingness to take risks or leave assignments
in which they had gained acceptance. The external barriers outside the policing
environment centered on conflicts caused primarily by financial, family, and
childcare considerations.
Wexler and Quinn (1984) noted the internal barriers in a study of officers in
the San Francisco Police Department who were eligible to take the civil service exam

for promotion to the rank of sergeant. The findings confirmed that women judged
themselves less competent than men in a number of operational and tactical areas
involving street experience and physical capabilities. Two deficiencies were noted,
specifically supervising problem officers and supervising officers with more street
experience than the respondents had. A study by Poole and Pogrebin (1988) failed to
support the lack of experience argument. Surveying attendees at a conference of
women police officers, Poole and Pogrebin found that the lack of experience was
overshadowed by factors such as the longer the women had been in policing, the less
likely they were to pursue promotion.
Whetstones (2001) study also confirmed the negative influence of external
barriers on womens decision to pursue promotion. Whetstone found that family and
child care played much larger roles in womens decisions to pursue or not pursue
promotional opportunities than they did for men. Whetstone discovered that the three
major reasons women did not participate in the promotional process were childcare,
preference to remain in current assignment, and possible shift change.
A study that examined both internal and external factors influencing the
promotional process explored the relationships between education and career paths of
police officers in Texas (Polk & Armstrong, 2001). In this study the significance of
job experience surfaced as the most important factor in the advancement for both men
and women officers. Polk and Armstrongs research emphasizes that job experience

was a primary variable in promotion and is consistent with findings from other
studies (Wexler & Quinn, 1984).
Career Paths Job Experience
The career path of a police officer whether employed by a community
policing model or a crime control model agency is still affected by assignment,
seniority, and existing rank structure in the employing agency. A municipal policing
practitioner may move between assignments by lateral transfer or through promotion
to the next highest rank. Typically an officer would begin his or her career in patrol
and then lateral transfer or promote to a detectives position, or depending on the size
of the department, take on other collateral or ancillary positions. The officer would
then promote through the first line supervisor ranks of sergeant and lieutenant before
attaining the command or executive rank of captain or above. Largely dependent on
the size of the department and structure, promotion is based on the availability of the
next higher position, consideration by the executive management of the organization,
or limitations imposed by the municipality.
As an example of this progression, Polk and Armstrongs (2001) study
examined municipal policing, sheriffs offices, and other state agencies, such as the
Texas Rangers. The patrol division was usually the first assignment for officers of
large municipal policing agencies. Patrol represented the largest unit in an agency
and contained the greatest number of entry-level positions. Other entry-level

positions were found in communications, traffic, identification, records, and juvenile
units. In Polk and Armstrong (2001), beginning assignments reflected that 78 percent
of the respondents starting in patrol, six percent in jail positions, and three percent
starting in traffic, other than patrol. Following the initial assignment, an officers
career path generally progressed to a specialist as a lateral transfer or through
promotion in rank. Transfer was accomplished by designation as a patrol officer
specialist or assignment to a specialist position. Assignment as a specialist entailed
full-time performance of duties with particular skills, such as a detective, school
resource officer (SRO), or canine officer (K9). It is through career path options that
promotional opportunities arise and are expanded (Polk & Armstrong, 2001).
In Polk and Armstrong (2001), demographic data from the department was
important to the analytical design and to the generalization of findings. Women were
significantly under-represented in almost all positions with high social status or rank,
such as administrators, supervisors, and detectives compared to male officers. They
were over-represented in the assignments identified as other which often are not
recognized as real police work. For example, the study found that 82 percent of
men started in patrol, compared to 59 percent of women. A 2001 study by the
National Center for Women and Policing (NCWP) discovered that women had a
much smaller percentage of patrol as first assignments. Women were more likely to
begin with assignments in investigative, administration, and special or support

operations. The NCWP research confirmed the over-representation of women in
service oriented positions dealing with juveniles, child abuse, community relations,
and crime prevention. Overall, NCWP studies found that male officers saw these
units as less desirable and promotional boards often failed to value the experience
gained from these assignments as compared to patrol experience in the promotional
Polk and Armstrongs (2001) findings indicated a strong relationship between
rank and experience. A multivariate regression model found experience, education,
gender and ethnicity predicted length of assignment in a decreasing order of impact.
The findings from this study indicated the need to explore job assignments of women
in policing more thoroughly in order to determine if differences exist between male
and female officers and the assignments held, rank at those assignments, and length
of time between promotional advancements.
Vincent and Seymour (1994) found that 98 percent of female executives in
private industry felt that mentoring helped the careers of their proteges and 62 percent
felt it also helped their own careers. Donna Milgram, former president of the Women
and Policing Institute, recommended connecting women with other women in
municipal policing for career enhancement and advancement (NCWP, 2002).
Strandberg (2000) notes the importance of learning from those who have already been

there about how to gain acceptance and handle other officers who may resist female
leadership. While mentoring may benefit the mentor, protege, and organization,
questions persist as to whether mentoring relationships equate to advancement.
Research has shown in some instances that mentoring may have a positive
impact on professional growth, career advancement, and career mobility. Mentors
may impart insights into organizational culture, aid in honing problem-solving skills,
and provide valuable feedback and networking opportunities. Mentors can buffer
subordinates from discrimination and help overcome gender-related barriers to
advancement (Ragins & Cotton 1993, 1996; Vincent & Seymour, 1994). In Vincent
and Seymours study that included survey results from 649 female executives, 84
percent of those surveyed agreed mentors have an honest desire to help another
person. Approximately 80 percent agreed that proteges appreciated a mentors help
and 80 percent disagreed that mentors use proteges for selfish reasons to accomplish
their own goals. Vincent and Seymour (1994) argue that mentoring can benefit the
organization through employee retention and increased morale. The enthusiasm,
camaraderie, and professionalism mentoring programs achieve affect the entire
culture of the organization (Williams, 2000). Mentoring leaders learn to listen to
subordinates, showing their employees that their input is valued and makes a positive
difference in the agency (Bell, 1998). A recent research study revealed that college

graduates who are mentored before leaving college begin their first career assignment
at an average of 30 60 percent higher salary.
The first generation of women obtaining command level positions in
municipal policing were faced, for the most part, with having to approach someone of
the opposite sex to obtain mentoring. Vincent and Seymours (1994) study indicated
that 62 percent of male officers would only mentor other men and 67 percent of
female officers would only mentor other women. A contradiction exists in a male-
dominated profession where few women are in positions to mentor other women.
This problem is especially significant at executive level positions where there is a
scarcity of women. Because of these apparent contradictions or realities, some
women may be hesitant to initiate a mentoring relationship due to sexual issues, sex-
role expectations, or the lack of opportunities for meeting mentors (Ragins & Cotton,
1993,1996). Women may find themselves reluctant to initiate a relationship with a
male mentor, fearful that such an approach would be misconstrued as a sexual
advance. Because of these realities, women face more difficulty than men when
initiating mentoring relationships.
Perceptions of mentoring may be viewed differently depending on the gender
of the person providing mentoring or the person seeking promotion. What is not
explained in the literature is how mentoring opportunities for employees who seek
promotion, especially in male-dominated organizations where male mentors far

outnumber female mentors, is influenced by male mentors and the female employee
mentored. What has yet to be addressed in the literature is the importance of
mentoring in obtaining promotion and if ranking municipal police officers actually
mentor their subordinates or just say they do. A study on mentoring and diversity
identified several dynamics that complicate aspects of evaluation (Athey, Avery, and
Zemsky, 1991). The authors identified human capital issues of bias, diversity,
employee talent, and rates of retirement, specialization of job requirements,
profitability, and corporate culture as complicating factors in determining optimal
mentoring practices for promotional standards in private corporations. To that end,
no positive or negative relationships could be determined that would be considered a
best practices approach.
The current research endeavors to examine several aspects of the mentoring
process in municipal policing. What proportion of women who have risen to
executive level positions report having had mentors who assisted them in their
careers? Who were these mentors? Do women participate as mentors more than their
male counterparts? Moreover, do women believe mentoring enhances their chances
for promotion or enhance organizational goals? This study looks at mentoring in
municipal policing to determine whether gender differences remain a concern in the
organizational mentoring mix.

Municipal policing administrators have emphasized the importance of
education in the development of a skilled practitioner. Previous studies show that
education is a positive influence in promoting the professionalization of municipal
policing. The push for professionalization through advanced education has been a
culmination of several commissions that were convened to study the criminal justice
system. The Wickersham Commission Report, in 1931, and the Presidents
Commission of Municipal Policing and the Administration of Justice, in 1967,
indirectly called for higher educational standards for police. The National
Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence in 1969, The American Bar
Association and Standards for Criminal Justice in 1972 and the Police Foundations
Commission on Higher Education for Police Officers in 1978 all pushed for
municipal policing practitioners to be exposed to and obtain higher education degrees
(Polk & Armstrong, 2001).
Kleinig (1996) argued that profession, professionalism, and
professionalization in municipal policing must be defined and differentiated. The
effort towards professionalization of municipal policing involves accreditation and
takes into consideration a key component of accreditation involving the need for
higher education by its practitioners. Additionally, the International Association of
Chiefs of Police (LACP), National Organization of Black Municipal policing

(NOBLE), National Sheriffs Association (NSA), Police Executive Research Forum
(PERF), and others have promoted accreditation efforts with the idea that higher
education will be a component of the professionalization of municipal policing. In
1935, the FBI established a police academy for promoting professionalization and
education in municipal policing. Today, colleges and universities around the United
States along with institutions like the FBI National Academy, Southern Police
Institute, Northwestern Police Command College, and Police Executive Research
Forum promote the professionalization of municipal policing through education.
Current studies reflect that a majority of municipal policing practitioners around the
United States have some college-level education (PERF, 2006).
In Polk and Armstrongs (2001) study, policing practitioners were surveyed to
determine if there was a differential distribution of law enforcement personnel by
education among those holding advanced or specialized positions (Polk & Armstrong,
2001). The findings revealed that education and rank were highly correlated. The
research, however, found no relationship between increased education and increased
rank, though the results indicated that more often practitioners with higher education
occupied higher positions. The generalizability of the studys findings, however, is
limited. The departments surveyed represented agencies of more that 150 sworn
officers in size and were from one particular geographic area with differences
between educational level and gender not being compared. This study looks to

validate the perception that women police officers are more educated than male
officers. This study also attempts to substantiate the findings between rank and
increased education, based on gender, by examining the educational level of the
officer at the time of employment and their current educational level.

Research Questions
The purpose of this study is to explore how career paths, mentoring practices,
and educational backgrounds influence the promotional process for women in
municipal policing by comparing differences between men and women police officers
who have been successful in their promotional efforts.
The following research questions guide this study:
1. What are the demographic characteristics of women who have
obtained supervisory or executive positions in municipal policing? Do
these characteristics differ from men who have risen to similar
2. Are women police officers promoted faster or slower than their male
counterparts? Are women promoted with less experience than their
male counterparts? Do women have their authority challenged more
than men?
3. Of the women who were promoted, were they recipients of active
mentoring? What gender was the mentor(s)? Do women participate
as mentors more than their male counterparts? Do women believe
mentoring enhances organizational goals?

4. Do women officers have more or less education than their male
counterparts in similar positions? Was more education expected for
continued advancement through the ranks? Does rank increase as
educational achievement increases?
Research in policing has utilized qualitative and quantitative methods of
inquiry, or a combination of both to explore gendered dynamics in the profession.
Whetstone (2001), Polk and Armstrong (2001), and Burlingame and Baro (2005)
used surveys and quantitative analysis to investigate the correlations between gender
and the promotional process, education, and organizational affiliations and
promotion. Schulz (2003), Eggler (2003), and Richard (2001) used qualitative
research methods to illuminate the role of gender in chief of police positions,
promotional processes, and leadership in municipal policing.
This study utilized a combination of research methods to acquire insights into
gendered differences involving the promotional process in municipal policing.
Interviews of a pilot study group enabled the researcher to gain meaningful
qualitative insights into the promotional experiences and perceptions of those officers
who have already been promoted and provided a basis for construction of a survey
instrument. The use of qualitative methodology with in-depth semi-structured
interviews and Likert statement responses provides personal, reflective experiences of
police executives that have previously successfully negotiated rank advancement

within their own organizations. According to Rubin and Rubin (1995), qualitative
interviewing captures some of the richness and complexity of the subject matter and
explains it in a comprehensive way. Researchers may want to interview individuals
in order to identify the variables involved and then move to a quantitative based
survey instrument in order to explore those attitudes and beliefs or converge or
confirm findings from different data sources (Cresswell, 2003 p. 22).
Based on the responses from the pilot study group, a quantitative survey
instrument was constructed to explore the dynamics of the promotional process and to
identify gendered differences in the promotional process. A web-based survey was
utilized to send male and female graduates of the FBINA questions about the law
enforcement promotion process. Survey results looked for significant statistical
gender differences between municipal policing practitioners who have successfully
pursued the promotional process. By utilizing the demographic information obtained
and comparing Likert statement responses by gender, significant differences were
found in career paths, mentoring practices, and educational beliefs that answers the
research questions posed. The use of a survey design provides a robust approach in
examining a sample of the population. Creswell (2003) describes a survey as a
design that provides a quantitative description of trends, attitudes, or opinions of a
population by studying a sample of that population. The advantage of a quantitative
survey approach taken from a sample population may provide for a better

understanding the role of gender in the promotional process in municipal policing
(Babbie, 1990).
By combining qualitative research methods of interviews from the pilot study
group and quantitative research methods from the surveys sent to FBINA graduates,
this study generated findings for the research questions posed.
Pilot Study Participant Selection
This study employed a pilot study group consisting of six men and six women
supervisor or command officers from different sized agencies in Colorado and
Wyoming. Whetstone (2001) also included a focus group that reviewed the proposed
research questions that examined the promotional process in the Louisville, Kentucky
Police Department. These individuals were selected to review and discuss the
validity and significance of the proposed research questions and assist in constructing
draft of a quantitative survey instrument. Convenience sampling determined the
resulting study sample. The researcher attempted to attract participants with different
supervisory or command ranks and different size agencies. The University of
Colorado, Human Subjects Research Committee Institutional Review Board, gave
approval for the pilot study. A copy of the approval letter can be found in Appendix
A and a copy of the email invitation to the participants and informed consent
information are presented in Appendices B and C.

FBINA Survey Participant Selection
Participants in this research project were identified from a list of all municipal
officers who graduated from the FBINA since September 11, 2001. This sampling
plan was utilized based on the premise that all have previously obtained or will obtain
supervisory or executive level positions within their agencies and therefore have
successfully negotiated at least a representative amount of rank attainment within
their own organizations. This premise is also substantiated by the fact that all
attendees to the FBINA must hold the rank of lieutenant or higher within their
respective agencies. One caveat is that the current FBINA requirement for
supervisory or command staff officers also includes sergeants from smaller sized
agencies that have demonstrated command experience or are in policy making
positions and eligible for future promotion, or do not have an organizational stmcture
that includes the rank of lieutenant.
All female officers who graduated from the FBINA from September 11, 2001
through December, 2006 were given an opportunity to participate in this research. To
that end, all 113 women FBINA graduates were contacted in advance to solicit their
participation in the study. The final survey response represents officers who were
willing to respond to the web-based survey and included municipal policing
practitioners with the rank of sergeant through chief. All requirements under federal
regulations involving human subjects (45 CFR 46 and 21 CFR 50, 56) and the

University of Colorado at Denver Human Subjects Research Committee (HSRC)
were complied with; approval was received to conduct the web-based survey
(Appendix I) and a copy of the approval letter can be found in Appendix F. A copy
of the email invitation to the participants and informed consent information are
presented in Appendices G and H.
Pilot Study Group
The pilot study participants were asked to fill out a 40-item questionnaire
designed to collect demographic information and explore perceptions, observations,
and attitudes related to the promotional process were then asked to participate in a
semi-structured interview. The purpose of the questionnaire was to obtain
demographic and attitudinal information from the pilot participant for subsequent
variable identification and data analysis looking for elaboration between the survey
questions answered and the Likert statements ranked with the responses from their
interview in order to determine the connectivity in answering the research questions.
Forty questions were asked along with related to their personal experiences involving
rank, career paths, mentoring, and education. Sixteen statements concerning career
paths, mentoring, and education were also given to the pilot participants to rank their
attitudes, beliefs, and experiences for each category described above from Totally

Agree to Totally Disagree. Once the pilot study was completed each participant
was asked to participate in a semi-structured interview.
FBINA Survey Group
Surveys were emailed to participants using Survey Monkey software program
to male and female police officers, who are also FBINA graduates and currently
employed by police agencies (Appendix I). Informed consent was obtained
consistent with University of Colorado Denver/Health Science Center regulations
involving human subjects. The web-based survey instrument included categorical
dimensions of personal and department information, experience and career paths,
mentoring practices, and educational background. Identification coding of the
subjects listed FBINA Session, name identification, gender (e.g. 222-Name-01) (NA
Session = 222; Name Identification = Mary Smith Male = 00, Female = 01). The
demographics of past FBINA graduates demonstrates an over-representation of male
graduates. The pool chosen for this study were graduates from September 11, 2001
through December 2006. A total of 3,600 officers, deputies, state, federal, and
foreign law enforcement officers have graduated from the FBINA since September
11, 2001 and 1,908 graduates worked in municipal policing agencies. For those
officers that came from municipal policing, 113 were women. Though this number of
women graduates is small, it does reflect the overall proportion of females in
command positions in policing and industry (NCWP, 2002). All 113 women

graduates and a sampling of 152 male graduates were contacted in advance of
receiving the survey soliciting their participation. The sampling procedure for
selection of the male participants utilized a convenience sampling process of taking
every 11th male name on the FBINA graduate list supplied by FBINA Associates
office. One hundred and seventy-five graduates responded to the survey with 70
percent of the women responding and 63 percent of the men responding, representing
an overall response rate of 66 percent.
Analysis Plan
Pilot Study Group
The pilot study participants were asked to provide demographic information
through use of a questionnaire about municipal policing and to gain initial insights
into differences between men and women and dimensions of promotion by comparing
personal, department demographics, and perceptions involving their promotional
experiences. Qualitative data were then collected through semi-structured interviews
to obtain additional insight into the dimensions of the municipal policing promotional
The semi-structured interview responses tabulated common words, phrases, or
meanings from each participant (N = 12) and was used to identify similarities and
differences in responses across gender. The content analysis of experiences,
behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs of the pilot study participants was combined with the

Likert Statement responses to develop and used to develop a survey. The analysis
examined and compared the material within categories and then compared material
across categories to build overarching themes. The use of qualitative methodology
with in-depth semi-structured interview was employed in order to provide the
researcher with personal, reflective experiences of police executives that have
previously successfully negotiated rank advancement within their own organizations
and to identify dynamics of promotion they encountered. According to Rubin and
Rubin (1995), qualitative interviewing captures some of the richness and complexity
of the subject matter and explains it in a comprehensive way.
Interpretive researchers try to elicit interviewees views on their
worlds, their work, and events they experienced or observed. To
reconstruct and understand the interviewees experiences and
interpretations, interpretive researchers seek thick and rich descriptions
of the culture and topical arena they study to develop an empathetic
understanding of the world of others (Rubin & Rubin, p. 35).
Miles and Huberman (1994) described this interpretive synthesis as stacking
comparable cases in which the researcher used matrices and other displays to
analyze each case in depth (Appendix E). After each case is well understood, the
researcher picks the model narratives and stacks them by category or dimension
which permits a systematic comparison. Miles and Huberman (1994) note that when
conducting multiple case analysis the aim is to see processes and outcomes across
several cases, to understand how they are qualified by local conditions, and thus to

develop more sophisticated descriptions and more powerful explanations (p. 172).
The results from stacking cases descemed themes, commonalities, and uniqueness of
the various cases or dimension involving promotion in municipal policing as shown
in Appendix E.
FBINA Survey Group
Demographics and Likert statement responses examined the relationships
between gender, rank and career paths, gender, rank, and mentoring practices, and
gender, rank, and educational background. Descriptive statistics provided a basis for
examining similarities and differences of personal attributes and experiences provided
by the survey respondents. Likert statement responses provided a basis for utilizing
inferential statistics involving t-tests to identify significant differences and
associations between male and female officers. A t-test calculates the mean of the
quantitative variable for each group as well as the differences between the groups
mean value. The t-test then calculates a p-value or significance statistic for this value.
Demographic information captured in the FBINA graduate survey will answer the
following research question:
What are the demographic characteristics of women who have risen to
executive levels in policing? Do these characteristics differ from men who
have risen to similar positions?

The categorical dimension of gender issues surrounding career paths,
experience, and rank attainment examined similarities and differences for the length
of time to promotion. A line of questioning employed both descriptive statistics and
Likert responses involving the demographics of the department, job assignments held
by the officer, at what rank, and length of time in each assignment (Polk &
Armstrong, 2001). For example, the specific assignments held and the length of time
the assignment was held for in positions such as patrol, criminal investigations,
internal affairs, jail, SWAT, field training officer, administration, police academy,
community outreach, budgeting, juveniles, domestic violence, or other positions. A
Likert statement asked for the perception of male and female officers as to their belief
that women have their authority challenged more then men. T-tests looked for
significant differences in these responses. This line of questioning provided
information for the following issues:
Are women police officers promoted faster or slower than their male
counterparts? Are women promoted with less experience than their male
counterparts? Do women have their authority challenged more than men?
The next categorical dimension involved the importance of mentoring in rank
attainment. Lacking in the existing literature is the significance of mentoring in being
promoted and secondarily, who is providing the mentoring in male dominated
organizations where male mentors far outnumber female mentors (Vincent &

Seymour, 1994). Using the survey questions derived from the pilot study
participants, the dimension of mentoring was investigated by considering mentoring
experiences of the practitioners who successfully obtained promotion and whether
women had more mentors then men, who mentored them, and did women mentor
more than men. By incorporating inferential t-tests statistics significant differences
could be identified and answered the following research question:
Were women recipients of active mentoring? What gender was the
mentor(s)? Do women participate as mentors more than their male
counterparts? Do women believe mentoring enhances organizational goals?
The categorical dimension of education incorporated questions from pre-
existing survey instruments used by Polk and Armstrong (2001). Differences were
examined in the levels of education from the time the officer began employment to
their current position and the importance in perception of acquiring additional
education when rising to executive level positions within the organizations.
Descriptive survey responses compared educational perspectives of how education is
perceived inside the policing organization as well as how the public views education.
Educational level and educational specialty (majors) obtained by men and women at
the time of employment and at their current rank are compared with education and
total service time with an agency, education and the length of time spent in ascending

assignments, and education by rank category (Polk & Armstrong, 2001).
Educational information answers the research questions:
Do women officers have more or less education than their male counterparts
in similar positions? Was more education expected for continued
advancement through the ranks? Does rank increase as educational
achievement increases?
From survey information obtained and those perceptions that were
significantly different by gender, findings describe the differences of those who
successfully pursue the promotional process and address the research theme, for
women who pursue organizational advancement in municipal policing how do career
paths, mentoring practices, and educational backgrounds influence rank attainment as
compared to their male counterparts. By addressing the research theme, policy issues
surrounding municipal policing are examined.

The results of the pilot study phase of the project illuminated specific
variables within the dimensions of career paths, mentoring, and education that impact
rank attainment and suggested that a wider-reaching questionnaire would help
identify important differences between men and women police practitioners.
Information obtained from the pilot study was used to develop a refined survey
instrument that was sent to police supervisors and executives across the United States
in order to generate a more comprehensive understanding of how gender interacts
with the promotional process in municipal policing.
The pilot study group was formed using convenience sampling techniques and
included 12 police supervisors or executives. Twelve questionnaires were completed
and interviews were conducted either in person or by phone in December 2006 and
January 2007. Each questionnaire and interview session lasted between 60 90
minutes. The pilot participants were either graduates of the FBINA and were
identified as potential participants through the pre-existing relationship with the
FBINA and the researcher, or from a previous relationship with the researcher in the
Master of Criminal Justice Program at the University of Colorado. Participants
criteria included one male and one female of similar rank and department size and are

identified as P1M through P12F. Their responses were recorded under their P1M
through P12F identities.
The pilot study participants were asked to fill out a survey questionnaire that
requested demographic information and their perceptions, observations, and attitudes
involving the promotional process based on their experiences and then asked to
participate in a semi-structured interview. The purpose of the survey was to obtain
preliminary information to examine consistency and elaboration between the survey
questions answered and the Likert statement rankings with the responses from their
interview for connectivity and to assist in constructing quantitative survey questions
that the research questions.
Participants responded to 40 questions that captured demographic information
about the individual pilot participant, which included questions related to their
experiences in the promotional process. Sixteen Likert scale statements concerning
career paths; mentoring, and education were also given to the pilot study participants
to rank their attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions identifying differences by gender.
Response options were based on a seven-point scale ranging from Strongly Agree
to Strongly Disagree. Each question or Likert statement response was evaluated
and based on their relevance in answering the research questions were included,
modified, or deleted. SPSS statistical program was employed to view descriptive data
obtained from the pilot participants responses and to examine the data provided in

order to conduct exploratory data analysis (Morgan, Leech, Gloeckner, & Barrett,
The researcher collected field notes from the open-ended interview questions
and then aggregated responses for qualitative analysis. A content analysis identified
important words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs of responses pertaining to
promotional themes. Responses collected from the interviews and the content
analysis results can be found in Appendix E.
The analysis noted significant similarities in responses overall and between
genders. The content analysis tabulated the experiences, behaviors, attitudes and
beliefs of the pilot participant and themes were combined to build an integrated
perspective. Responses were examined and compared the material within and across
categories to build overarching themes.
Pilot Study Participant Demographics
Six women with the police ranks of lieutenant through chief of police and six
men with the police ranks of sergeant through chief of police participated in filling
out a questionnaire and were then interviewed and asked about their experiences in
the promotional process of municipal policing. Table 4.1 summarizes the
demographic composition of the pilot study participants.

Table 4.1 Pilot study participant demographic information
Participant Gender Rank Race Age Years Service Agency Size Women Officers #of Depart Worked
P1M Male Chief Caucasian 44 15 9 2 2
P2M Male Captain Caucasian 51 28 1568 181 2
P3F Female Inspector Caucasian 55 33 66 8 1
P4M Male Dep Chief Caucasian 45 22 103 11 1
P5M Male Sergeant Caucasian 34 9 44 7 1
P6M Male Lieutenant Caucasian 48 26 1568 181 3
P7F Female Chief Caucasian 46 17 17 2 1
P8M Male Dep Chief Caucasian 52 32 142 33 2
P9F Female Lieutenant Caucasian 45 23 232 49 1
P10F Female Cmdr Caucasian 51 27 1568 181 1
P11F Female Cmdr Aff/Amer 43 18 1568 181 1
P12F Female Cmdr Caucasian Amlndian 46 16 162 38 1
The findings reflect that the pilot study group was predominately Caucasian
which is representative of the overall employment make-up of policing in Colorado
and Wyoming. The average age of the females in the pilot study group was 47.7

compared to 45.7 years for male participants. The average length of service reflected
that the women had 22.3 years of police service compared to 22.0 years by the men.
The findings involving the number of departments that the participant had worked
reflected that the men averaged about two departments during their careers as
compared to the six women participants who all had worked for just one agency. The
sample size of the pilot study group is too small to make any generalizations, but if
the overall survey results showed this trend it would be contrary to literature from
Schulz (2003) and Baldwin (1996) who assert women that are more inclined to
change departments in order to pursue promotion or were in and out of the job market
more than men based on other external factors.
Content Analysis of Pilot Study Participant Response Findings
Table 4.2 aggregates and then averages both length of time at each grade or
position and the number of departments worked by gender. Overall, males and
females have similar lengths of service at each grade.
Table 4.2 Average length of time at each rank by gender
Gender Officer/Detective Sergeant Lieutenant/Cmdr Captain
Men 9 Years 6.2 Years 6 Years 3 Years
Women 9.2 Years 5.8 Years 4 Years 4 Years

Mentoring is viewed differently depending on the gender of the person
seeking promotion. Ragins & Cottons (1993, 1996) suggests that women are more
hesitant than men to initiate mentoring relationships because of gender issues.
Vincent and Seymour (1994) argued that mentoring benefits the individual seeking
promotion, the mentor, and the organization through employee retention and
increased morale. The pilot questionnaire asked participants about the importance of
mentoring and the promotional process by detailing the number of mentors and the
gender of those mentors. Table 4.3 compared the number of mentors each participant
had during their careers based on rank held when mentored.
Table 4.3 Mentoring averages
Officer/ Detective Sergeant Lieutenant/ Commander Chief of Police
Men 2 Both Male 2 Both Male 1 Male 1 Male
Women 3 Total 4 Total 2 Total 1 Male
2 Male/1 Female 3Male/lFemale 1 Male/1 Female
The findings indicate that mentoring played a small role in promotion as
reported by the number of respondents who had few, if any, mentors. When mentors
were present, they were more likely to be male officers. Twelve mentors were
acknowledged altogether and of those nine were male. Findings from the

questionnaire found four of the six male respondents said they mentored both male
and female officers. Five out of six women respondents stated they mentored both
male and female officer subordinates. This finding differ from Vincent and
Seymours (1994) study that indicated that 62 percent of male officers would only
mentor other men and 67 percent of female officers would only mentor other women.
The three respondents who stated they neither received mentoring, nor mentored
anyone else, all came from a large department with over 1,000 sworn officers. Of
those who did receive mentoring it appears that the majority received mentoring early
in their careers by male officers. Interestingly, the two chiefs of police felt they had
received mentoring in order to attain the rank of chief but had not received mentoring
at the ranks leading up to the chief position. Responses also reflected that officers
from large departments were less likely to feel they received mentoring or gave
mentoring, which indicates that more interaction between the ranks happens in
smaller departments.
Table 4.4 shows the entry level of education of each participant and their
current rank and educational level. Findings looking at supervisory positions in this
pilot study and the educational level of the officer at time of employment and their
current level of education also reflect that their current level of formal educational
achievement is higher than the level when they entered into municipal policing and
indicates a relationship between rank and educational level.

Table 4.4 Entry-level educational level and current level of education
Participant Entry Level Education Current Rank Current Level of Education Increase + Same -
P1M BS Chief Masters/JD +
P2M Some College Captain Masters +
P3W Some College Inspector BS +
P4M Some College Deputy Chief BS/Some Graduate Work +
P5M BS Sergeant Masters +
P6M Some College Lieutenant Some College -
P7W High School Chief BS +
P8M AA Deputy Chief BS +
P9W BS Lt. Commander Masters +
P10W Some College Commander Some College -
P11W Some College Commander Masters Doctoral Work +
P12W Masters Lt. Commander Masters (-)

The findings show that nine of 12 respondents have higher educational
degrees than when they started their law enforcement careers, and the 10th began her
career with a masters degree in criminology. Six of 12 now possess advanced
degrees with one respondent working on an advanced degree. The two officers who
had not obtained additional formal education are both from a large department of over
1,000 sworn. This trend may be attributed to views that education and advanced
degrees are less important in obtaining rank in large organizations, or reflect one large
departments culture and organizational structure.
Content Analysis of Likert Statement Responses Findings
At the end of the questionnaire, the participants were given 16 Likert
statements concerning their views and attitudes towards policing and gender,
experience, mentoring, and education using a seven-point scale from strongly agree
(coded as 7) to strongly disagree (coded as 1). Figure 4.1 reflects the responses made
and the average findings listed by gender and differences between the two groups.

The promotional process favors academically strong individuals. 4.67 5.33 -.66
The promotional process favors operationally strong individuals. 5.83 5.67 .16
The promotional process favors men over women. 3.00 1.83 1.17
The current administration is gendered bias in promoting officers. 3.17 2.00 1.17
Women are promoted with less experience than men. 2.83 2.33 .50
Women have stronger administrative skills than men. 5.17 2.67 2.50
Men have stronger operational skills than women. 3.83 2.50 1.33
Women are discriminated against in job assignments 3.83 1.50 2.33
One or more mentors increased my ability in getting promoted 4.83 4.20 .63
Mentoring programs increase the effectiveness of the organization. 4.67 5.17 -.50
Mentoring assists in selecting fixture leaders in the organization 5.00 5.50 -.50
Mentoring programs are a waste of time and energy . 2.67 2.00 .67
Additional formal education is required to get promoted in your department. College graduates make better command officers than 3.67 3.00 .67
command officers without a degree. 4.17 4.00 .17
Life experiences are more important than formal education. 4.83 3.83 1.00
Specialized degrees assist in getting promoted. 3.67 3.83 -.16

The findings revealed both similarity in response and gender based differences
in perception. The analysis of gender shows that both groups agreed that the
promotional process favors academically and operationally strong individuals. This
observation could simply be a preconceived notion of a fair and impartial promotional
process. Both groups disagreed with the concept that the promotional process favors
men over women and current administrations favor one gender over the other in
promotion, even though women were not as adamant as men about the presence of
discrimination in the promotional process.
Under the category of experience, women participants perceived that they
possessed much greater administrative skills compared to their male counterparts.
The male respondents did not perceive that their operational skills were any better
than a womans, even though the women endorsed the ongoing female perception that
men are more operationally competent then women. Women participants were
neutral on the issue of discrimination in job assignment; however, male respondents
were adamant that women were not discriminated against in municipal policing.
Both groups were somewhat ambivalent about the role mentors played in
increasing their own chances of being promoted. The responses indicate that what is
perceived as good practice is not necessarily the reality of mentoring. While agreed
that mentoring is good for subordinates and the organization in exposing personnel to
leadership roles and in identifying competent supervisors and future leaders, most

respondents felt they were not recipients of mentoring that advanced their careers or
prepared them for organizational leadership roles even though those surveyed have
obtained high ranking positions. Like previous studies on mentoring, the entire pilot
study group agreed that mentoring increased the effectiveness of the organization and
was useful in selecting future leaders.
Male and female respondents also differed on whether or not life experiences
were more important than educational experiences in the promotional process. This
statement solicited a stronger response from the women who stated life experiences
were more important than formal education (M = 4.83). More women respondents
than men believed life experiences were more important than formal education, which
could be considered contrary to the literature that supports the view that women
officers have more education and expect promotion based on their educational and
administrative background over operational skills.
. Content Analysis of Qualitative Structured Interview Findings
The questions posed in the semi-structured interview process attempted to
answer, enlighten, or explain reasons and conditions surrounding individual
perspectives. The interview protocol identified questions that addressed central
themes of the study: gender, experience, mentoring, and education (see Appendix D).
Once the responses were captured from all of the pilot study participants, common

word, phrases, and sentence responses were identified and combined. Appendix E
provides detailed responses from the individual interview.
Questions 1, 3,5,6,7, and 17 were directly linked to the overarching research
theme in this study: The influence of career paths, mentoring, practices, and
educational backgrounds on rank attainment.
Questions 2 and 4 examined research question 2 that asked: Are women police
officers promoted faster or slower than their male counterparts who have obtained
similar rank? Questions 8 through 12 looked at mentoring practices and the impact of
mentoring on promotion and succession planning. Interview questions 10 and 12
looked at realities and attributes involving mentoring and succession planning.
Question 11 asked the participants if their department utilized a formal mentoring
program. Questions 13 through 16 involved education in policing and education
levels involved in the promotional process and addressed Research Question 4. The
overall findings from the interviews were examined according to gender and the
research dimension involving, experience, mentoring, and education.
Gender Issue Findings
All but one respondent noted that measures of success in policing were not
tied to rank or the pursuit of rank. Other measures of success noted by the
participants included job knowledge, competency, and positive feedback from the
community. Personal attributes of the officer emerged as important determinants in

the measurement of success. Other keywords included happiness, work ethic and
productivity, passionate about the job, good relationship with others in the
organization, assignments and experiences, personal achievements time with
department, officer morale, trust of fellow officers and added responsibility. One
female respondent noted that she measured success based on rising through the ranks
but acknowledged that others do not necessarily associate success with rank.
The findings concerning desirable attributes of officers that pursue promotion
reflected that the number one response was respectful of others both inside and
outside the department. Also prevalent throughout the interview was the officers
ability to have good interpersonal communication skills. Other highly sought after
attributes included commitment and good work ethic; motivation and ambition;
technical proficiency and competency; life long learners; willingness to take risks;
and the ability to be compassionate. Other attributes noted included: ability to think
and act globally; ability to delegate; fairness to others; integrity; dedication and
passion for job; becoming a servant leader; and the ability to motivate others. Female
participants felt commitment, work ethic, motivation, and ambition were attributes
that are more desirable for an officer pursuing promotion then their male
The majority of the participants did not believe discriminatory practices
existed in their promotional processes. The vast majority of the respondents stated

that the administration of the promotional process was fair and equal for both men
and women officers. Further inquiry into fairness and equality determined that one
female respondent believed that the discrimination against women that does exist is
attributable to personal biases of some older officers, with older officers more
inclined to discriminate against women. The same female respondent stated she
believed that the overall organizational culture of what would be considered a
traditionally structured department might cause this behavior along with generational
differences. Two male respondents answered that the current promotional practices
over-compensates against gender bias and at times favor under-qualified women.
Two women respondents felt that culture, jealousy, ignorance, and back-channel
relationships with commanders and the chief of police caused the inequality that did
exist. Taken a step further the respondents were asked about their perception of
subordinate officers when women officers are promoted to positions over them. The
main response, by both male and female respondents, was that subordinate officers
base their judgment of the promoted officer on competency, performance, and ability,
and not their gender. The findings from the question that asked the participants to
give their main reasons for promoting found that the responses did not follow gender
lines and the main reasons for seeking advancement was self-promotion and personal

Experience and Career Path Findings
For those employed in municipal policing in almost all cases, new employees
start in patrol which makes the Polk and Armstrongs findings somewhat deceptive
from the standpoint that their study suggested that women were not given the
opportunity to start in patrol and were instead given gendered assignments (Polk &
Armstrong, 2001, p. 90). In fact, their study included sheriff offices and state
agencies where most begin their careers in positions other than patrol positions. All
12 participants departments have new employees start in patrol. Ten of 12
responded positively that combining diverse work experiences, proficient generalist
experiences, and technical expertise prepared officers better for promotion. Five
respondents noted the importance of specialty positions in pursuing promotion; of
those responses, four of five were women. Two women also noted that their
relationships with those in command were significantly important in obtaining
promotion. This observation was added to the FBINA survey to explore the
possibility that the mainstream avenues of pursuing promotion may be circumvented
by back-channel relationships that are not necessarily legitimate promotional protocol
and policy.
All of the participants believed that operational competency was an important
element in deciding who should be promoted. Five of six women believed
knowledge of standard operational procedure and job description specifics were

important competency measurements in determining the proficiency of those who
pursue promotion. Only one male respondent made note of knowing standard
operational procedure as an important competency for those who pursue promotion.
This finding may be tin identifiable concern of female officers for the need to work
within the parameters of established identifiable written promotional standards of the
organization and its policy when pursuing promotion. In identifying operational
competency of officers pursuing promotion, the findings reflected the need and ability
of an officer to see the impact of their actions on others and their organization.
Mentoring Findings
Findings show that all respondents believed mentoring is valuable regardless
of its form and six of 12 participants responded that mentoring is career based and not
necessarily promotion based. Some respondents mentored others more actively than
others. Some respondents sought out officers to mentor while others waited to be
approached by the officer wanting the mentoring. In all cases, gender was not an
issue as to who was and who was not mentored. The findings concerning mentoring
also suggests that the participants believed that mentoring identifies future leaders
and is important in succession planning for their departments. Many responses noted
the best approach in identifying future leaders was through observation and
interaction of operational aptitude and administrative ability and by allowing the
mentored officer to participate in decision-making processes to evaluate their

performance and potential. Left unanswered is why most of the respondents did not
believe they were recipients themselves of mentoring even though they are the
organizational leaders of their agencies today.
Education Findings
Interview questions attempted to look at the importance of education in the
promotional process. Nine respondents thought that college educated officers were
important to the advancement of policing, but did not necessarily believe formal
education improved or enhanced the performance or advancement of the individual
officer and therefore was not viewed as the main component of success. The
respondents who thought formal education was beneficial believed formal education
provided a basis for improved communication skills, broader perspectives, improved
reputation of the department, positive perception by the community, and a
demonstrated commitment to the completion of a goal. Eight of 12 respondents
believed that educational achievement was an important element in rising through the
ranks, but the findings also reflected that some believed that requiring additional
formal education was not necessarily important for those who pursue promotion.
Major Theme Development for FBINA Survey
Combining the findings from the pilot study participants questionnaire, Likert
statement rankings, and the semi-structured interview responses, a matrix
demonstrates similarities in themes that addressed dynamics involved in the

differences in municipal policing promotional process based on gender, and directly
related to the research questions. The exploration of the responses allowed for the
construction of a survey instrument to address those areas of research interest.
Although generalizations from the small convenience sample of pilot study
participants are inappropriate, the findings identified and illuminated further areas of
inquiry and were included in the survey instrument sent to FBINA graduates
(Appendix I). Incorporating the findings from pilot study group, addressing the major
themes of gender issues in the promotional process, career paths, mentoring, and
education, and policing with gender similarities and differences in experience,
perception, and attitudes provided clarification to the study. The following additions
were made to the FBINA survey instrument and categorized under the appropriate
A combination of demographic information, Likert statement rankings, and
semi-structured interview responses addressed the issues raised in the overall research
theme. Demographic information involving gender, age, race, marital status,
children, years of service, agency size, number of women in the department, where
officers begin their careers, and the gender of the policy making individuals, (i.e.,
mayor, city manager, chief of police) shed light on those perceived internal and
external barriers along with individual and organizational structures that enhance or
hinder promotional opportunities for female officers.

Likert statement rankings from the pilot study participants further illuminated
differences in perceptions involving administrative versus operational competence in
the promotional process, and the belief that discrimination plays a role in todays
municipal policing environment. Existing Likert statements were supplemented with
other statements involving the importance of job satisfaction over rank attainment and
the importance of knowledge of policy and procedure. The items were added to the
FBINA survey based on the perceived differences by gender. From the interview
responses, the perceived importance of desirable personal attributes and whether
those attributes were incorporated in to the promotional process was added as a
FBINA survey question along with questions that addressed perceived discriminatory
practices and reasons for pursuing promotion in the first place. A statement was also
added that asked for a ranking of perception that women in supervisory or command
positions have their authority challenged more than men in similar positions.
Demographic results from the pilot study participants in Table 4.1 indicate
there are many similarities in respect to age, length of experience, and gender of those
in the position to receive promotions which may be an indication that municipal
policing perspectives have change since the 1970s and 1980s. Sampling a larger less
heterogeneous group of FBINA graduates further explores similarities and differences
between gender and the demographics of those who have received promotions.

Preliminary findings from the pilot study group indicated that of the 12,
gender did not play a role in the average length of service in each rank and promotion
to the next rank (Table 4.2). A questionnaire statement also was developed that
explored relationships with those in command as an important determinant in
obtaining promotional advancement. A back-channel relationships question was
added to the FBINA survey to investigate the possibility that the mainstream avenues
of pursuing promotion could be circumvented by non-legitimate promotional
protocol. A question concerning the perceived desirable attributes was added to
determine if those desirable attributes were incorporated into the promotional process.
Demographic information from the pilot study participants indicated that
mentoring played a small role in being promoted based on the response to the lack of
mentors that actively assisted the group. Of those who were mentored, the vast
majority of their mentors were male. Almost all of the pilot study participants said
they engaged in active mentoring of other officers regardless of rank. Likert scale
statement rankings reflected that regardless of gender mentoring was a positive
endeavor and helped in identifying future leaders of the organization. Based on the
pilot study responses further exploration may highlight differences between the
perceived notion of mentoring and the reality of mentoring and whether mentoring
does or does not play a major role for those who pursue promotions. Findings from
the pilot survey participants identified possible approaches to mentoring and

identifying future leaders, which included observation and interaction in order to
evaluate potential decision-making and administrative performance. Based on those
observations a statement was developed that asked for a ranking that mentoring was
important in succession planning and identifying future leaders in the organization to
see if there were identifiable gender differences.
All of the responses concerning education support Polk and Armstrongs
(2001) study in Texas that found a correlation between rank and level of education.
Demographic findings from the pilot study participants show that nine of 12 had
increased their formal educational level since joining their respective departments.
The sample was not large enough to conclude whether women have more education
than men do of similar rank. The semi-structured interview responses did find that
formal education and advanced degrees were beneficial to the advancement of
policing and the professionalization of policing. Based on this finding, statements
were made to investigate whether officers seeking executive positions should be
required to hold advanced degrees. Additionally, a Likert item was developed asking
to explore perception of the perception by the community regarding education.
Questions were developed that asked if additional education was required for
advancement or assisted in obtaining advancement, and if so, were educational
specialties considered important and did the department pay for the additional

By combining the findings from the pilot study participants questionnaire,
Likert statement responses, and the semi-structured interview responses with the
existing literature surrounding the promotional process in municipal policing and
gender, the FBINA survey instrument (Appendix I) was developed and designed to
explore possible perpetual differences surrounding promotion of women in municipal
policing compared to their male counterparts.

In March 2007, 265 surveys were sent to 113 female police officers and 152
male police officers. Of those, 175 surveys were completed and returned. This gave
the researcher an overall response rate of 66 percent and 174 were actively employed
in municipal policing. To provide consistency of responses and reflection of those
currently employed in municipal policing, 174 responses were used in the analysis.
Due to the limited number of potential women officers available for this study, all the
officers were contacted by telephone prior to the survey being sent in order to
introduce the researcher and to ask for their assistance in this study. A total of 79
women completed the survey for a response rate of 70 percent and the response rate
for the men was 63 percent (n = 95).
The findings presented in this chapter are structured using demographics and
survey responses involving the dimensions of career path, mentoring, and education
findings in order to explore the research questions posed. The first dimension looked
at individual and organizational differences between the men and women respondents
based the demographic information. These findings provide a basis for looking at
differences throughout the rest of the analysis. Differences in experience and career
paths were explored by examining the length of time respondents spent at different
ranks in order to determine if women officers were promoted at a faster or slower rate

then their male counterparts. As part of this exploration, job assignment examined
differences in career paths to promotion compared to men and whether the
respondents believe that women officers have their authority challenged more so than
men. Mentoring findings explored those differences that exist between men and
women in determining if mentoring was a significant determinant in the respondents
individual promotional experience, and if mentoring was a valuable organizational
asset for identifying future leaders and succession planning. Educational findings
involved differences between men, women, and education in municipal policing. The
findings compared the educational level at time of employment to the current level of
education examining whether higher levels of education translated into higher
management positions for women. Education findings also looked for relationships
between education and rank. Lastly, education findings attempted to look for
significant differences in the perception that advanced degrees for executive positions
were needed.
Demographic Findings
The responses obtained in the web-based survey were exported to Microsoft
Excel, and then to the SPSS statistical program for analysis. Demographic findings
from the survey were used for comparative purposes with the pilot survey group.
Table 5.1 provides the demographic make-up of the FBINA survey respondents.

Table 5.1
FBINA Demographics (N=174)
Category Male Sub Sample (n=95) Female Sub Sample (n=79) Total Sample
Age 45.0 45.4 45.1
Race (Percentages)
African American 2.1 13.9 7.4
Asian 0.0 2.5 1.1
Caucasian 92.7 78.5 86.3
Hispanic 1.0 6.3 3.4
Other 4.1 2.6 3.4
Marital Status (Percentages)
Single 6.2 34.2 18.9
Married 80.2 48.1 65.7
Divorced 5.2 10.1 7.4
Yes 91.7 43.0 69.7
No 8.3 57.0 30.6
Current Rank (Percentages)
Chief of Police 19.1 6.3 13.3
Deputy Chief 12.8 10.1 11.6
Division Chief 4.3 3.8 4.0
Captain 23.4 26.6 24.9
District Commander 2.1 2.1 2.3
Lieutenant/Commander 33.0 41.8 37.0
Sergeant 5.3 6.3 5.7
Average Years in Policing 21.2 20.7 21.0
Average Years with Current Agency 19.0 19.6 19.3
The findings reflect that even though the survey respondents were
approximately the same mean age (45 years old) and had the same municipal policing
experience (21 years), the female respondents had more tenure and length of service
with their current agency compared to male respondents. This finding may reflect the

trend that women who pursue and receive promotion within municipal policing
agencies are more inclined to stay with the same department, which contradicts
existing literature involving women in the work force. Existing literature purports
that women are in and out of the workforce more often than men and are less likely to
stay with an organization long enough to compete for top positions (Schulz, 2003;
Baldwin, 1996). Findings from this study also revealed that statistically, women were
five times more likely to be single than their counterparts and men were married at a
much higher percentage, 80.2 percent compared to less than half of the women 48.1
percent who reported being married at the time of the survey. Women officers also
reported being divorced at twice the rate of men.
The findings revealed a proportional relationship between gender and
positions held with the exception of those who held the rank of chief of police. As
Table 5.1 illustrates, 19.1 percent of men surveyed held the position of chief of police
while only 6.3 percent of women held the same position. Again, this finding is
consistent with the literature that suggests that women are under-represented at the
chief of police position compared to their male counterparts (NCWP, 2001; Schulz,
2004). The results, however, did reveal that the percentage of men and women at
each rank below the position of chief are similar. Based on the fact that all of the
respondents are graduates of the FBINA and the requirement of holding the rank of

lieutenant or higher, there would be more of a likelihood that the sample population
of men and women would have similar ranks in proportionate relationship.
Experience and Career Path Findings
The results explore whether women are promoted at a faster or slower rate
than their male counterparts, Table 5.2 provides the length of tenure in each of the

Table 5.2 Mean length of tenure in each rank
Gender Chief Dep Chief Div Chief Captain Dist Chief Lt/Cmdr Sergeant Detective Officer
Male Mean 5.42 4.53 3.00 3.56 5.00 4.71 4.76 4.76 7.20
n 19 15 6 34 2 66 88 43 76
Std Deviation 3.49 3.54 1.55 2.06 .00 2.82 2.07 3.28 3.11
Female Mean 2.86 2.90 3.50 3.98 7.00 4.79 5.47 3.92 6.50
n 7 10 4 33 5 66 77 39 73
Std Deviation 1.86 2.64 2.89 3.09 4.74 2.66 3.01 2.25 3.21
Total Mean 4.73 3.88 3.20 3.77 6.43 4.75 5.53 4.36 6.85
n 26 25 10 67 7 132 165 82 149
Std Deviation 3.31 3.26 2.04 2.61 4.00 2.73 3.03 2.85 3.17

The findings reflect that through the ranks of division chief, women are
promoted at approximately the same proportional rate and speed as their male
counterparts based on means between groups. Comparing those findings with the
length of tenure at each rank illustrated in Table 5.2 indicates that was no statistical
significant difference between men and women.
The career paths that women took to their current positions compared to their
male counterparts reflect that the road to promotion regardless of gender runs through
patrol and investigations. Statistically all respondents shared the same assignments
and job positions in equal proportion throughout their careers. Surprisingly, only
small percentages of officers, male or female, responded that they held specialty
positions in SWAT, SRO, K9, PIO, human resources, special operations, and training
in their path to promotion. This finding is contrary to the Polk and Armstrong (2001)
study and the pilot study interviews that purported specialized job assignments
preceed promotion. A smaller percentage did respond that they held specialty
positions such as internal affairs, training, and other positions, but the vast majority
matriculated through patrol, investigations, back to patrol in a supervisory position,
and into administration regardless of gender.
To further illuminate this progression through job assignments, respondents
were asked to identify their work experience by providing the position and rank held
for their first ten assignments in policing, with the belief that most officers did not

exceed ten different positions in their career. A comparative analysis was drawn
between men and women and the assignments they held and the ranks they had in
those assignments. Starting with the first sworn assignment both male and female
respondents started in patrol at the rank of officer. The second assignment was in
either patrol or investigations at the rank of officer or detective. The majority of
positions in assignments three through five were in patrol as sergeants. The majority
of the women in assignments six and seven held the rank of lieutenant in either patrol
or investigations. The majority of men in assignment six through eight were split
evenly between the ranks of lieutenant and captain, and in assignments of
administration, investigations, or patrol. In assignments eight through ten, the most
prevalent rank of the women respondents was that of captain also split between
administration, patrol, or investigations. The male respondents were evenly split
between lieutenant, captain, and deputy chief in their assignments nine and ten in
administration, investigations, and patrol.
The survey looked for differences in the perception that women officers have
their authority challenged more than men of similar rank. Results from the pilot
study group interviews indicated the most prevalent view was that subordinate
officers base their perceptions and judgments of supervisors and commanders on
competency, performance, and ability and not gender. A t-test was computed to
investigate whether there was a significant difference between male and female

perceptions that their authority was challenged. Assumptions were checked and none
were violated. Women believed that their authority is challenged more than men,
t(169) = -4.17, p = <.001. Inspection of the two groups means indicates that women
believe they have their authority challenged (4.18) more compared to men (3.02).
The difference between the means is 1.16 points on a 7-point scale.
Table 5.3 T-test women have authority challenged
Variable M SD t df P
Authority Challenged 4.17 4.17 137.50 <.001
Men 3.02 1.48
Women 4.18 2.04
Both male and female respondents believed that relationships with those in
command are important determinants in obtaining promotional advancement but there
were no statistical significant differences between men and women and their
perceptions. Back channel and personal relationships were not thought to
significantly influence promotion and no statistical differences existed. Statistically,
the most significant difference involving job experience was that women perceived
they had stronger administrative skills than men, t=-4.43, df, 129.80, p<.001.
Mentoring Findings
The survey shows that the vast majorities of police departments lack
formalized mentoring programs and participate in informal methods of mentoring.

The survey explored mentoring from the standpoint of experiences of the respondent
in relationship to whether they had been recipients of mentoring and who mentored
them, do women seek out mentors more than men, do women provide more
mentoring, and what were there perceptions of the value of mentoring. For those who
had received active mentoring that assisted in promotion the survey question captured
at what ranks mentoring took place and the gender of the mentor. Another aspect of
mentoring dealt with whether the respondent actively mentored subordinates under
them and what gender they mentored.
The findings reflect that the majority of the respondents, (55.5 percent) did not
receive active mentoring in any meaningful way in their pursuit of advancement.
Almost 45 percent stated they received active mentoring that helped them obtain a
higher rank. Those who stated they had received active mentoring responded that
mentoring came early in their careers, mainly at the ranks of officer, sergeant, and
lieutenant/commander and the majority of the mentors were male. Figure 5.1
indicates that men mentored the vast majority of the respondents.

Table 5.4 shows mentors separated by respondents and reflects that men were
still the main providers of mentoring however, from a percentage standpoint, women
mentored other women more then men mentored female officers.
Table 5.4 Rank where active mentoring was received and what gender mentored
(by gendered response)
Rank Male Respondents (Percentages) Women Respondents (Percentages)
Male Female Male Female
Officer 69 8 56 21
Sergeant 69 7 69 19
Cmdr/Lieutenant 61 6 63 23
Captain 56 11 65 18
Deputy Chief 46 0 57 14
Chief 30 0 67 33
Findings involving the respondent doing the mentoring show that 137
respondents (83 percent) actively mentored others. Of those 137 respondents that

actively mentor, 85.4 percent responded they mentor men and women subordinates,
12.4 percent mentor just men, and 2.2 percent mentor just women.
Differences by gender in responses that women seek out mentors more than
men and that women provide more mentoring were analyzed. Table 5.5 reflects the
average differences between men and women respondents and their belief that
women seek out mentors more than men do. The means 3.51 and 3.77 indicate that
neither group agree that women seek out mentors more than men do. The t-tests
reflect there were no significant difference between men and women and the belief
that women seek out mentors more than men do.
Table 5.5 Women seek out mentors
Gender Mean N Std. Deviation
Male 3.51 93 1.239
Female 3.77 77 1.521
Total 3.62 170 1.376

Table5.6 Women provide more mentoring
Variable M SD t df P d
Women Provide More Mentoring -3.02 139.34 .003 .47
Men 3.37 1.16
Women 4.01 1.57
Table 5.6 shows the means and standard deviations of men and women
respondents regarding the perception that women provide more mentoring than men.
Responses reflected that women had a higher mean score then men. A significant
difference emerged between the respondents that women provide more mentoring
than men did t = -3.02, df 139.34, p = .003.
The findings show that women perceive that they provide more mentoring
but interestingly they do not believe that mentoring increases effectiveness and
efficiency, identifies future leaders, or is important in succession planning of the
organization compared to their male counterparts as shown in the below Table 5.7.
Table 5.7 Mentoring observations
Mentoring Observations Men (M) Women (M)
Mentoring Increases Effectiveness and Efficiency 4.37 3.45
Mentoring Identifies Future Leaders 4.09 3.24
Mentoring is Important in Succession Planning 4.25 3.27

Table 5.7 reveals significant differences between men and women and their
mentoring observations pertaining to organizational issues. All three areas were
statistically significant.
Effectiveness and Efficiency, t = 3.82, df 149.62, p = <.001
Identifies Future Leaders, t = 3.25, df 151.07, p = .001
Important in Succession Planning, t = 3.78, df 151.01, p = <.001
Table 5.8 Recipient of positive mentoring experience
Gender Mean N Std. Deviation
Male 4.34 88 1.875
Female 3.86 78 2.050
Total 4.11 166 1.968
Table 5.8 illustrates that male respondents were more inclined to believe they
were recipients of positive mentoring experiences. However, the difference between
groups was not statistically significant.
To summarize, the most telling statistical finding was that 55.5 percent of all
the respondents did not believe they were recipients of active mentoring that helped
them get promoted, yet over 83 percent of those same officers responded they
themselves mentor both men and women. In addition, significant differences were

found by the women respondents who did not believe mentoring increased
organizational effectiveness or efficiency, identified future leaders, or assisted in
picking the next leaders of the organization. Interestingly, the current leaders of the
organization were not mentored and the women officer respondents who believe they
provide the most mentoring did not believe that mentoring was beneficial to the
Education Findings
The findings indicated that with the exception of chief of police position,
women in this study held the remaining supervisory and command positions within
their organizations at the same proportionate percentage as men (Table 5.1). By
establishing dummy variables for each level of formal education obtained, means
were established that identified educational differences based on gender. The dummy
variables were developed as follows: 1 = high school diploma, 2 = some college, 3 =
bachelors degree, 4 = some graduate work, 5 = masters degree, and 6 = doctorate
degree. Based on these findings and the findings that reflected that all of the officers
from the represented municipal policing agencies start with the rank of officer and in
patrol, Table 5.9 and Table 5.10 shows that women have a higher mean educational
level at their current positions then their male counterparts and a somewhat higher
mean educational level at the time of employment.

Table 5.9 Education level at initial employment
Gender Mean N Std. Deviation
Male 2.63 93 1.292
Female 3.08 79 1.430
Total 2.84 172 1.371
Table 5.10 Current educational level
Gender Mean N Std. Deviation
Male 4.23 93 1.582
Female 4.91 79 1.332
Total 4.54 172 1.508
Table 5.9 and Table 5.10 show consistency with existing literature of the
educational level between men and women in policing.
Table 5.11 reflects the mean educational level of the respondents at the rank
currently held. As stated earlier, as men and women respondents in this study held
the same ranks at the same proportionate rate with the exception of chief of police.
Table 5.11 provides a view of the combined mean educational level with the rank of
officer added from Table 5.10, representing the starting educational level.

Table 5.11 Educational level and rank both male and female officers
Current Rank Mean N Std. Deviation
Chief of Police 4.68 25 1.574
Deputy Chief 4.58 19 1.644
Division Chief 4.43 7 1.272
Captain 4.65 40 1.578
Lieutenant/Cmdr 4.46 63 1.522
Sergeant 4.10 10 1.101
Officer (Table 5.9) 2.84 172 1.371
The findings suggest that there appears to be a correlation between rank and
the mean educational level between what would be considered supervisory positions
of sergeant and lieutenant and command positions of captain through chief of police.
With the exception of division chief with small sample size, and a small variance in
the mean at deputy chief, education increases as rank increases of those surveyed.
The demographic findings indicated 56.1 percent of the respondents agree that
officers that pursue executive level positions within their organizations should have
advanced degrees. The women respondents perceived more importance than the men
that advanced degrees should be required in pursing executive positions t = -2.77, df

168.47, p = .006. The issue of the importance of educational specialty and promotion
revealed 66.3 percent of the respondents did not believe specialized degrees assisted
in being promoted. Likert statement rankings found the above views consistent
between male and female respondents in the perception that life experiences, degree
of professionalization of law enforcement, and perception by the community of
degreed officers were positive factors for municipal policing.
Educational findings explored whether additional formal education was
required in order to be promoted and whether the perception that additional formal
education assisted in being promoted. Demographic findings reflected that there were
no differences between male and female responses and that 66.5 percent of the
respondents believed that additional education was not required for advancement to
the next rank. The same percentage, 66.5 percent, stated that obtaining more formal
education after employment assisted in promotional advancement.
Of those who responded that additional education was required for
advancement and whether organizations paid for continuing education, because of the
manner in which the question was phrased, 57.3 percent stated their departments paid
for continuing formal education but a determination or pattern of the importance of
educational specialties could not be made. The findings showed no statistical
differences based on gender.

The respondents gender and the gender of the municipal policy maker was
not significant in identifying individual or organizational differences. Table 5.12
illustrates that men dominate all of the municipal policymaking positions of those
municipalities the respondents represent and therefore any correlation between gender
of the officer and the municipal executive could not be developed.
Table 5.12 Municipal policy makers
Gender (Percentages) Male/Female Average Male/Female Male/Female
Mayor 84/12 82/13 85/11
City Manager 70/12 75/08 64/15
Chief of Police 91/09 93/07 89/11
Examining the findings from the survey, the path to promotion is based on
many variables. By comparing the results from the pilot study group with the web-
based survey, insight was gained into the differences between men and women in
their pursuit of promotion. This chapters findings reflect both intuitive perceptions
and unexpected differences about the promotional process. Some findings from this
study do not substantiate existing literature in respect to some aspects of experience
and career paths, mentoring, and education. In addressing the overall research theme
updated perspectives of police practitioners is captured and assists in addressing
current municipal policing promotional issues.

Survey responses of individual and organizational demographics identified
several gender differences between men and women police practitioners. Differences
in marital status, children, and divorce rates highlight some possible career
orientation differences of women. The results show that from the organizational
standpoint all respondents were currently employed in municipal policing, of similar
age and total years of policing, and women had a half year more tenure with their
current department as compared to their male counterparts. The findings involving
experience and career paths showed there were no statistical differences between men
and women and the length of time at each rank and length of time between
promotions. The literature involving career paths of men and women leads the reader
to believe women were given more low social status positions, thus preventing
advancement. This study showed that women who are successful in promoting,
matriculate up the organizational ladder at the same pace as their male counterparts.
Findings involving assignment and rank showed promotion through patrol and
investigations and rank was obtained evenly based on the number of assignments held
by the respondents and not gendered based. Contrary to other studies, specialty
positions were not seen as the road to promotions, regardless of gender. Results of t-
tests reflected that significant differences did exist in the perception that women had
their authority challenged; the female respondents believed their authority was
challenged more than men.