Presentation Title

Unpacking the Influence of Police Unions and Officer Associations on Female Officers’ Experiences

Presenter Information

Rachael RiefFollow

Advisor Information

Dr. Samantha Clinkinbeard

Location

MBSC Omaha Room 304 - G

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

4-3-2022 2:00 PM

End Date

4-3-2022 3:15 PM

Abstract

As calls to diversify police departments continue and women and officers of color remain only a small portion of the police population, we must continue to explore their experiences in the field. Research examining women and racial and ethnic minority officers’ experiences has mainly focused on their experiences within the organization. This research has resulted in a fruitful understanding of the challenges and barriers they face including their struggle to feel accepted in the field. However, there remains little known about the role external influences like police employee organizations play in their experiences. In particular, there is not much known about how unions or officer associations (e.g., Black police associations and associations of women in police) affect women and racial and ethnic minority officers’ experiences. Further, there is reason to suspect that women and officers of color do not feel represented by their unions. Specifically, minority officers may not feel represented by a union if union leaders and members ascribe to certain beliefs in the occupational culture. Officer associations like Black police officer associations, on the other hand, may help minority officers feel better represented within their agency and fill this “representation void.” To better understand this dynamic, I conducted semi-structured interviews with female officers (n=13). The officers were asked about their experiences and perceptions of police employee organizations. I analyzed the interviews using a mix of deductive and inductive coding methods.

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Mar 4th, 2:00 PM Mar 4th, 3:15 PM

Unpacking the Influence of Police Unions and Officer Associations on Female Officers’ Experiences

MBSC Omaha Room 304 - G

As calls to diversify police departments continue and women and officers of color remain only a small portion of the police population, we must continue to explore their experiences in the field. Research examining women and racial and ethnic minority officers’ experiences has mainly focused on their experiences within the organization. This research has resulted in a fruitful understanding of the challenges and barriers they face including their struggle to feel accepted in the field. However, there remains little known about the role external influences like police employee organizations play in their experiences. In particular, there is not much known about how unions or officer associations (e.g., Black police associations and associations of women in police) affect women and racial and ethnic minority officers’ experiences. Further, there is reason to suspect that women and officers of color do not feel represented by their unions. Specifically, minority officers may not feel represented by a union if union leaders and members ascribe to certain beliefs in the occupational culture. Officer associations like Black police officer associations, on the other hand, may help minority officers feel better represented within their agency and fill this “representation void.” To better understand this dynamic, I conducted semi-structured interviews with female officers (n=13). The officers were asked about their experiences and perceptions of police employee organizations. I analyzed the interviews using a mix of deductive and inductive coding methods.