Date of Conferral
There is a lack of female police officer representation in police departments nationwide. Women's position, or lack thereof, in law enforcement is a topic of discussion in many police literature reviews. However, there were minimal studies detailing female police officers' personal experiences in the law enforcement profession. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe and understand the perceptions and lived experiences of female police officers, as well as the impact those experiences had on their careers. Female participants from 3 police departments formed the purposive sample that included 8 full-time female police officers. The feminist theory helped to clarify the constructed meanings the women attached to their experiences. In-depth interviews were conducted, and the data analysis was guided by the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method. The findings revealed that all of the women pursued law enforcement careers and remained in the profession for reasons similar to what they perceived to be the reasons among the male police officers in their respective departments. The participants also suggested that the perceived intentional institutional barriers did not impact the female police officers' job satisfaction. This study contributes to social change by raising awareness about the current status, concerns, and accomplishments of women in law enforcement. Additionally, findings may assist police administrators and legislators in creating policies and procedures that incorporate the needs of female officers.