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Being a women in the criminal justice field can be difficult. There are many stereotypes of women and it can be difficult for many people to see past these. In 1909, Alice Stebbins Wells petitioned the Mayor of Los Angeles in an attempt to request that women should be allowed to be sworn law enforcement officers. In September, 1910, the ordinance was passed and Wells was the nations first female police officer. This was a significant step for women as women have historically been seen as homemakers. Although, females were hired to be “matrons” in jails and prisons prior to Wells being appointed the first female police officer, they were only given this position as it was believed that these matrons would be able to look after female inmates and could meet female inmates “special needs.” 

Despite Wells becoming a sworn police officer with a badge, she still experienced issues with sexism. She was treated differently then her male counterparts. Police officers were provided with the luxury of free trolley rides, however, when Wells attempted to use this luxury, she was turned away and accused of stealing her husbands badge to get the free service. Although throughout her career she was often assigned to more security type duties, she was still successful with the tasks she was given and she soon became a great advocate for women wanting to enter the criminal justice field. She served many roles throughout her career to include the president of the Women’s Peace Officers Association as well as the LAPD Historian. She ended her career with her retirement in 1940 (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). 

Unfortunately, females in the criminal justice field still experience some of the discriminations that Wells did in the early 1900’s, however it is less common then it used to be. Female law enforcement officers may not always be treated equally by citizens that they serve, but the treatment within law enforcement agencies has come a long way. Women now have the ability to serve in all law enforcement agencies whether it is local, state or federal. They are able to perform all of the same duties as male officers are to include serving on specialty units (SWAT, Narcotics, etc.) and they have equal opportunity for promotion. History tends to suggest that women are more “childlike rather than adult like” (Collective, C. J., & Jones, L. C., 2009). Women have generally been looked at very passive instead of being able to stand up for themselves in situations which may be considered “aggressive.” After several years of working towards equality, women are treated more equally now than ever before. As a professional in the criminal justice field, I still come across male professionals who still do not believe that women should be in law enforcement. This experience has been few and far between and hopefully it will stay that way. 


Collective, C. J., & Jones, L. C. (2009).Investigating difference: Human and cultural relations in criminal justice (2nd ed.). NJ: Prentice Hall.

o  Chapter 11, “Women’s Difference in the Criminal Justice System: Constructions of Victims, Offenders, and Workers”

Respond to the bold paragraph ABOVE by using one of the option below… in APA format with At least two reference…..

·  Offer and support the opinion from having read your colleagues’ postings.

·  Expand on your colleagues’ postings.

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