"Women are not being given the credit for having skills such as being strategic and good planners and being able to mediate rather than resort to physical force," said Sheriff Sadie Darnell of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office in Gainesville, Florida, and a member of the Generation W panel. "I think the numbers definitely show there's less brutality complaints when you have women more integrated with the public safety force."

There are certainly fewer women than men on the force -- with just 13% of women in the overall police force today, according to the National Center for Women and Policing -- but there still appear to be fewer complaints against female police on average versus male police, Jay Newton-Small reports in her book "Broad Influence: How Women are Changing the Way America Works."

An all-female law enforcement panel at a recent women's conference.

The average male officer is 8½ times more likely to have an excessive force complaint against him than a woman, according to an analysis by the National Center for Women and Policing. (PDF) When it comes to excessive force liability lawsuits, the average male officer costs between 2½ and 5½ times more than the average female police officer. The average male officer is two to three times more likely to have been named in a citizen's excessive force complaint.

Newton-Small, in a story for Time magazine, said that studies show women "tend to draw their weapons less, look for nonphysical solutions and are much better at community outreach."

This doesn't mean female officers never use excessive force. A case in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last year received national attention after a white female police officer was charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist. But the overwhelming majority of police-involved shootings involve men.


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