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Police1 asked: Do female officers believe their supervisors value their input and perspective?

Data from the “What Cops Want” survey suggests a difference in how female and male officers feel valued, indicating a gap in workplace culture and environment

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These insights could be valuable for law enforcement agencies looking to improve workplace culture and foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for all officers.

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In a recent Police1 poll, we asked: What do you think is the biggest barrier for women entering law enforcement?

The top vote? Workplace culture and environment.

This statistic isn’t just a standalone number. It’s also backed up by results from Police1’s second annual State of the Industry survey, which provides an unprecedented window into the minds of those who protect and serve. In the “What Cops Want” survey, one question asks respondents about whether they believe their supervisor values their input and perspective.

Here’s how female officer respondents answered:

  • Strongly agree: 22.8%
  • Agree: 30.3%
  • Neutral: 18.1%
  • Disagree: 12.6%
  • Strongly disagree: 16.1%

And here’s how male officer respondents answered:

  • Strongly agree: 25.4%
  • Agree: 31.9%
  • Neutral: 17.8%
  • Disagree: 12.4%
  • Strongly disagree: 12.5%

While a majority of both male and female officer respondents feel that their supervisor values their input and perspective, there are notable differences. For example, a larger portion of female respondents strongly disagree with the statement, indicating a greater level of dissatisfaction or disagreement with how their input is valued compared to their male colleagues. This indicates a gap in perceived supervisor support.

Download this in-depth analysis of Police1’s State of the Industry survey on the support officers need from their supervisors and leaders to perform at their peak

[Want a downloadable deep dive infographic that you can share to start discussions within your department? Click here to complete the “Access this Police1 Resource” box!]

Additionally, there are survey questions related to whether respondents believe their supervisors care about them as individuals, how likely they would recommend a career in law enforcement to others, as well as how often respondents have one-on-one meetings with their supervisors.

The results are as follows:

  • Female officers were less likely to strongly agree that their supervisors valued their input or that they had the freedom to do their job as they saw best. They were also less likely to believe that their supervisors cared about them as individuals compared to their male colleagues. These differences could significantly impact workplace satisfaction, morale and the decision to stay with or leave an agency.
  • When asked about recommending a career in law enforcement, a higher percentage of male respondents reported being more likely to recommend it compared to female respondents. This could reflect differing experiences in their roles or perceptions of the law enforcement environment.
  • A slightly higher percentage of male respondents reported having had a one-on-one meeting with their supervisor in the last month compared to female respondents. This could indicate differences in communication or engagement opportunities.

These differences highlight nuances in the workplace experiences and perceptions of male and female law enforcement officers. While there are areas of commonality, variances in how support is perceived or experienced can influence overall job satisfaction, sense of personal value and the likelihood of recommending law enforcement as a career path.

These insights could be valuable for law enforcement agencies looking to improve workplace culture and foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for all officers.

Zoom in

The differences in perceptions and experiences between male and female officers, as highlighted by the survey results, can have several impacts on the field of law enforcement, including:

  • Workplace culture and morale: The varying degrees of perceived support and care from supervisors between genders can significantly impact workplace culture. If female officers feel less valued or cared for as individuals, then it could lead to lower morale and engagement. A workplace culture that doesn’t equally support all officers can hinder team cohesion and effectiveness.
  • Recruitment and retention: The differences in willingness to recommend a career in law enforcement, coupled with perceptions of support, could affect recruitment and retention rates. Women might be less likely to enter or remain in law enforcement careers if they perceive a lack of support or opportunities compared to their male counterparts. This impacts the diversity of law enforcement, which is crucial for effective policing.
  • Leadership development and advancement opportunities: Disparities in how male and female officers perceive their input’s value could reflect broader issues related to leadership development and advancement opportunities. If female officers feel their contributions are undervalued, this could discourage them from pursuing leadership roles, affecting the diversity of perspectives in law enforcement leadership and decision-making.
  • Officer wellbeing and mental health: Personal connection and care from supervisors are essential for officer wellbeing, especially in a high-stress profession like law enforcement. Differences in perceived care can lead to disparities in mental health support and overall wellbeing between male and female officers. Ensuring all officers feel supported on a personal level is critical for their mental health and job satisfaction.

[Want a downloadable deep dive infographic that you can share to start discussions within your department? Click here to complete the “Access this Police1 Resource” box!]

Zoom out

Police leaders and supervisors can proactively address the disparities in experiences and perceptions between male and female officers through several strategies, such as:

  • Enhanced mentorship and leadership programs: Develop and promote mentorship programs specifically designed to support female officers’ career growth and leadership development. These programs can provide the guidance, support and encouragement necessary for women in law enforcement to pursue advancement opportunities. Additionally, leadership training programs should include modules on diversity, inclusion and the importance of valuing all team members’ contributions, aiming to cultivate a generation of leaders who are adept at managing diverse teams.
  • Regular, structured feedback and communication channels: Implement regular and structured feedback sessions that allow all officers, regardless of gender, to share their perspectives, concerns and suggestions with their supervisors. These sessions should be complemented by open, continuous communication channels that encourage officers to voice their input and feedback without fear of retaliation. This approach helps ensure that supervisors are aware of and can act on any disparities in perceptions of support, autonomy and personal care.
  • Policy reforms and inclusive decision-making: Review and reform agency policies to ensure they support gender equity, particularly in areas identified as problematic, such as promotion practices, assignment distributions and work-life balance considerations. Involving officers from diverse backgrounds in the decision-making process for policy reforms can also ensure that a broad range of perspectives is considered, leading to more inclusive and effective policies.
  • Wellness and support programs: Enhance officer wellness and support programs to address the unique challenges faced by female officers, including mental health support, stress management and work-life balance initiatives. Ensuring these programs are accessible and tailored to meet the needs of all officers can improve overall wellbeing, job satisfaction and retention rates.

The bottom line

The survey’s findings suggest that fostering a more inclusive, supportive and development-focused environment, where the contributions and wellbeing of all officers are equally valued and supported, could mitigate some of the key differentiators observed from the survey’s data.

Addressing these disparities requires a concerted effort from police leaders and supervisors to understand and act on the needs and concerns of their officers. By doing so, it will not only improve the experiences of female officers, but it will also enhance the effectiveness, cohesion and morale of the law enforcement profession as a whole.

Sarah Calams, who previously served as associate editor of and, is the senior editor of and In addition to her regular editing duties, Sarah delves deep into the people and issues that make up the public safety industry to bring insights and lessons learned to first responders everywhere.

Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in news/editorial journalism at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Have a story idea you’d like to discuss? Send Sarah an email or reach out on LinkedIn.