Date of this Version
Prochnau, J. (2022). Furthering women in policing: How a police department's duty firearm selection process may mitigate the gender disparity in marksmanship. Undergraduate Honors Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Previous research has revealed that there are several benefits to increasing the representation of women in law enforcement, including less use of force, increased community trust, and better outcomes for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. While many police departments now recognize these benefits and are aiming to recruit more women, a problem persists because women are less likely to graduate from police academies than their male counterparts. A significant difference has been observed in the area of marksmanship, particularly, with more female recruits failing to meet firearm scoring standards. Currently, very little is known about how police departments select a duty firearm. However, selecting a firearm that better serves both female and male officers may be one potential way to mitigate the gender disparity that exists in marksmanship scoring. This study analyzed how marksmanship scores changed in one municipal police department following a new firearm selection process in which both male and female officers were able to provide input on possible duty firearm options. Results showed that while there was still a gender disparity in marksmanship scoring following the adoption of the new firearm, the disparity was significantly smaller than before. These findings suggest police departments may be able to increase the number of female recruits and officers they retain by choosing a duty firearm that both women and men feel comfortable with using.