This year, in order to better get at the root of our local law enforcement failure to respond adequately to violence against women, we've added a number of new data sets to our public information requests and data compilations. (Scroll down for data tables.)
First, in addition to compiling the overall numbers of female and minority race officers in each police agency, we also requested the number of female officers in each department who hold the rank of sergeant and above. We asked this question because one of the principal reasons the overall percentage of female officers in Sonoma County has not increased in 10 years (still less than 10% female) is because female officers in our local law enforcement are being kept locked out of virtually all police management positions.
Women are neither promoted from inside nor hired into ranking positions from the outside. As you can see in Figure 1 (scroll down to see data tables.), police power in Sonoma County is wielded by a near exclusive all male band. The few females hired in as officers are held at the bottom where they can do little more than to follow male orders. As long as the women are excluded from even the sergeant level of police power, there is no way women officers can begin to eliminate the discriminatory police hiring policies nor change the malignant policing practices that come with a male controlled leadership.
Second, for the first time we've also gathered the number of Hispanic females in each department. Latinos now make up close to 25% of Sonoma County population. This means 12% of the Sonoma County population are Hispanic females. Yet, excluding Rohnert Park and Cloverdale who didn't answer this question, there are less than 1% Hispanic female officers on our local police forces. This last year, three Hispanic women in our county were murdered in domestic violence homicides. We at Women's Justice Center routinely hear how badly our police respond to Hispanic women, especially non-English speaking Hispanic women, when they do call police, and how many other Hispanic women are fearful of calling police in the first place.
Third, we've included a whole new table, Figure 2, on the sex and race composition of the cadets-in-training at our local police academy, the SRJC Public Safety Training Center. Most of the new officer hires in our local law enforcement, and a significant number of all northern California police hires, come from this academy.
As you can see by scrolling down to Figure 2, our local police academy is big part of the problem. Less than 5% of the combined November 2008 classes are female. And there are no Hispanic females in either class. In the year 2008, after all the police sex discrimination law suits, public pay outs, and sex discrimination scandals, this police academy fortification of the male domination of our police powers is no oversight. This academy is deliberately robbing women of good careers, and deliberately robbing the public of democratic and improved policing. The public should be outraged!
Fourth, in a separate document, we're compiling statistics on police and District Attorney input and outcomes on rape, domestic violence, child abuse and prostitution, and on victim assistance funds to victims. As you'll see when these tables are available, the official rhetoric about how seriously these officials treat violence against women is very different from the reality. The reality is our law enforcement's continued general disregard and dismissal of these violent crimes against women.
The continued failure of our police forces to integrate women into the force also has serious and costly consequences that go beyond their institutionalized contempt for women victims. Just this year, our Sheriff's Department paid out $1.75 million for their wrongful killing of a boy in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa Police Chief Flint was forced to resign for his participation in the gender and sex discrimination rife in that department, and the spree of officer involved shootings and killings and jail deaths goes on unabated.
It doesn't cost a dime to bring more women in all ranks of our police forces! In fact, decades of research have long ago proven that, fully integrating women onto police forces saves communities huge monies in lawsuit pay outs, that female officers better de-escalate violent situations, and that female officers respond better to violence against women. As things are now, allowing this all male rule of police powers to continue in our community is costing us a fortune in money and in community well being.