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From Research to Reality: Recruiting More Women into the Policing Profession

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $806,290)

The applicant proposes to address a dearth of women in policing by using multiple RCTs and quasi-experiments in lab and field settings, as well as qualitative interviews of new female hires. The applicants aim to understand barriers and facilitators to increasing female representation in policing and to understand how specific recruiting content plays a role.
The applicant seeks to answer two questions: what are the most effective delivery mediums (e.g., flyers or online); and, what is the most successful message?

The first phase of this project is to synthesize the current recruiting tactics and materials from 30 law enforcement agencies. The researchers will then talk with experts (women police officers) to further develop a range of recruiting messages and materials aimed to draw more women to the field.

The second phase is three RCT experiments that use a 3x2 experimental setup with 3,550 students (half are criminal justice majors) and 6,000 MTurk respondents. Respondents will see either an online ad, a recruitment flyer, or a recruitment video (only 1 medium per respondent). They will then receive one message that is either about the career benefits, the challenge of the job, or the service to the community element of policing. This message will either be an inclusive message that uses non-male words/imagery, or the business-as-usual message that is a male-oriented message. These three RCTS will allow the applicant to test the effects of different mediums of recruitment, messages, and inclusivity.

The third phase is a quasi-experiment that seeks only respondents (from the first three RCT experiments) who have ever been interested in a policing career. These respondents are to rank concerns (e.g., safety, income, benefits, and wellness) that are identified during the first phase of discussions with experts. Once they have ranked their concerns, they are directed to a website/recruitment that addresses that issue to see if it changes their concerns.
The fourth phase is a quasi-experiment with the Portland (OR) Police Bureau and the Greensboro (NC) Police Department to create/modify recruitment content. They will then compare changes in visitors and applications from one year prior to the changes with one year after the changes were implemented.The fifth phase will test two different mailers/flyers in the two police jurisdictions. One flyer will be more business as usual, using predominantly male imagery and wording, while the other will be more non-gendered wording and inclusive imagery. These will be randomly sent to addresses based on where registered voters live. The flyers will contain a url which directs them to a web site (but which also tracks which flyer they received). Additionally, they will contain a unique email address to use to ask recruiters questions that indicate which flyer they received.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). ca/ncf

Date Created: September 16, 2019