Eliminating Gender and Racial Stereotypes in Police Culture through Stakeholder Collaboration


From childhood onward, people, including police administrators and officers, are taught by their parents, teachers, and peers the appropriate roles (according to these influences) of women and minorities in society and the workplace. This learning process is what social psychologists call “socialization,” whereby parents, teachers, and peers impress upon children or “socialize” beliefs, values, and norms—in this case, about the roles of women and minorities in society and the workplace.1

When police officers’ personal beliefs, values, and norms about the role of women and minorities overshadow their ability to lawfully protect employees and citizens, officers risk placing their communities in financial and social jeopardy due to the potential for costly civil judgments, settlements, and civil unrest. The overall economic costs of discrimination and harassment lawsuits total in the millions, negatively affecting local government budgets.2 Furthermore, discriminatory practices in policing can lead to civil unrest in local communities and lower morale in police departments, thus triggering aggressive protests and riots (e.g., Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland) and ineffective leadership, respectively.