Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Deborah Laufersweiler-Dwyer


The field of law enforcement is one of the most sought-after careers. People have various reasons why they choose to embark on this field of work. There are many levels of law enforcement from correctional officers to particular agents, such as patrol officers, federal officers (FBI, DEA, IRS etc). There is a lack of females that represent the field of law enforcement in numerous police divisions nationwide. Previous studies explored these deficiencies, yet they failed to examine the perspectives of high-ranking female officers. There is a gap in the literature that analyzes female officers' academy experiences, struggles, and barriers as women in law enforcement. The purpose of this qualitative narrative was to explore the perspectives of female law enforcement officers' experiences in obtaining high-ranking positions. In this study, I interviewed 12 high-ranking women in law enforcement and revealed their skills in this traditionally male-dominated field. Theories associated with this research are advocacy coalition and sex discrimination. NVivo software was used to organize the findings. Results indicated that there is an invisible barrier that women face when they are trying to promote to leadership positions. Participants offered insights into their journey, including balancing family life, facing adversity in the training academy, in the workplace, and conrinued success as supervisors. The current study suggests that lines of discourse are causing organizations to change their traditional masculine styles of leadership.