Women make up half the United States population yet continue to be underrepresented in policing.  Women make up just 12% of police officers nationally, with little increase in over 20 years.  Identifying the causes for the low female representation numbers are challenging, since there are over 18,000 police agencies in the US, each with varying recruitment standards and police academy models.  


There is an extensive body of literature that details the benefits of representation of women in policing.  Higher levels of female representation are associated with organizations that emphasize community policing (Schuch, 2014).  Female police officers have a positive influence on the perceived job performance, trustworthiness, and fairness of a police agency, perhaps increasing willingness to cooperate in the coproduction of public safety outcomes (Riccucci, Van Ryzin & Lavena 2014).

 A study by Amy Schuck and Cara Rabe-Hemp (2007) finds:

  • Female officers are less likely to be named in a citizen complaint compared to male officers.

  • Female officers are less likely to have allegations of excessive force against them.

  • Just the presence of female officers can reduce the use of force among other officers.

  • Even though citizens use the same amount of force against female officers as they do male officers, and in some cases are met with more force, female officers are more successful in diffusing violent or aggressive behavior.


This body of research literature dates back to the 1970s, with studies building on prior findings.  Out of this evidence-base, the Women's Leadership Academy was created, in partnership with the  Newark Police Superior Officers' Association.  


Our mission:

  1. To increase the recruitment of women in law enforcement. 

  2. To create a sororal community among the female members of the law enforcement community, where women support women in meeting their career objectives.

  3. To increase the number of women in supervisory and management positions.

  4. To advocate for women’s access to career development training and assignments.

Retention in law enforcement academies will be increased by familiarizing female applicants with the physical and mental demands of academy life.  This will be accomplished through physical fitness exam preparation, simulations and one-on-one mentoring.  


This sororal organization will offer free training opportunities for female officers demonstrating commitment to the advancement of female leadership within the police community. 


The WLA will utilize rigorous standards in designing, implementing and evaluating the services offered, to ensure the best outcomes for our members.  

Please follow us on our journey at:

Twitter:  @womensleadpd

Instagram: @womensleadpd


Rabe-Hemp, C. E. (2018). Thriving in an all-boys club: Female police and their fight for equality. Lanham ; Boulder ; New York ; London: Rowman et Littlefield.

Riccucci, N. M., Van Ryzin, G. G., & Lavena, C. F. (2014). Representative bureaucracy in policing: Does it increase perceived legitimacy?. Journal of public administration research and theory, muu006.


Schuck, A. M. (2014). Female representation in law enforcement: The influence of screening, unions, incentives, community policing, CALEA, and size. Police Quarterly, 17(1), 54-78.


Schuck, A. M., & Rabe-Hemp, C. (2007). Women police: The use of force by and against female officers. Women & Criminal Justice, 16(4), 91-117.


Homant, R. J., & Kennedy, D. B. (1985). Police perceptions of spouse abuse: A comparison of male and female officers. Journal of Criminal Justice, 13(1), 29-47.

Captain Ivonne Roman and Captain John Chrystal 
Founding Meeting
Be The Change 


Captain John Christal, President of the Superior Officers' Association and Captain Ivonne Roman, PhD Student at Rutgers-Camden, founded the Women's Leadership Academy through funding from  The Open Society Foundation (OSF).  


The SOA represents 300 superiors, of which 9% are female.  The WLA and SOA seek to increase those numbers and improve outcomes for female recruits and female members of the Newark Police Department, alike.


The WLA was created with the support of the Mayor's Office on Community Engagement, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Newark Police Bronze Shields.  

A Diverse Group of Women to Discuss Shared Experiences 

The WLA was established on 11.07.17 with its first exploratory meeting.   The energy was exhilarating and ideas were flowing.  

Upcoming events include networking dinners, weekend trips, training sessions, recruitment drives, and the design of programs to improve outcomes for applicants to the police academy and members of the Women's Leadership Academy. 

Get involved.  

The WLA vision is to create a sororal coalition of women whose mission is to see all the women around them thriving, because behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women.