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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Are Female Police Officers the Solution to Decreasing Police Brutality?

Are Female Police Officers the Solution to Decreasing Police Brutality?

Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Sandra Bland. Recently, it feels like you can’t open a newspaper or check your favorite news website without reading a story about police brutality in America. There have been numerous protests, marches and demonstrations across the country, but to what end? We have effectively identified the problem; the solution, however, remains elusive.  

Proponents of reform believe that including body cameras, increasing training, implementing stricter use-of-force policies, and enhancing community engagement will reduce the occurrence of violence. But there is one provocative idea that isn’t getting enough attention: increasing the number of women on the police force. 

Katherine Spiller, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation who oversees the National Center for Women and Policing, has done extensive research on this topic and will share her insight with the City Club on Friday, July 24th. I don’t want to give away the punchline, but if you want a sneak peek of her perspective, read her July 2nd op-ed in The Washington Post.  

I imagine Ms. Spiller will explain why we still don’t get it. Studies conducted over the past few decades have shown that female officers are less authoritarian in their approach to policing, less reliant on physical force to solve problems, and are, overall, more effective communicators. So, given this evidence, why aren’t we encouraging more women to join the ranks? As a society, why do we assume men are the only ones physically and emotionally resilient enough to protect us?

There are many communities across the nation in need of police reform. Can changing the gender dynamics of the police force be the “silver bullet” to reducing police brutality?

Join us Friday to find out.

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