LAPD GENDER BALANCE AND REFORM
PASSED BY THE LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL
The following recommendations and motions were unanimously approved by the Los Angeles City Council on September 2, 1992.
That the City Council call upon the Mayor to adhere strictly to the policy of gender balance in appointments to City Commissions; further, that the City Council express to the Mayor the extreme urgency of achieving gender balance on the Board of Police Commissioners as soon as possible given the critical nature of gender‑related issues raised in the Christopher Commission report.
Chief of Police
REQUEST the Civil Service Commission to include the following in its recruitment and selection process for the next Chief of Police:
1 . Affirmative recruitment of qualified women both inside and outside the Police Department. This must include mailings and outreach to women's peace officer associations and other methods of identifying potential female candidates.
The following gender balance motion was adopted by the Los Angeles City Council in November of 1993, replacing the gender balance provision adopted in September of 1992.
0n September 9, 199 2 the City Council unanimously adopted a package of motions designed to improve policing in our city by improving conditions for women police officers and increasing the percentage of police officers who are women. The keynote motion quoted the Christopher Commission finding that "female officers are involved in excessive use of force at rates substantially below those of male officers," and asserted that increasing the percentage of women in the force "holds the key" to substantially reduced police violence.
The Council stated its intent to recruit and hire significantly greater numbers of women into the police force such that ultimately the percent of women in the Department will reflect the percent of women in the Los Angeles area workforce (currently 43.4%). At the same time the Council increased the 1992‑1993 hiring goal for women Police Officers from 25 to 30%. This goal was met and surpassed: fully 33% of new officers in 1992‑93 are women. We still have a long way to go, however: as of June, 1993 the percent of women in the police force overall was only 14.4%.
To achieve gender balance on the force, two major problems must be overcome. First, the number of women applicants must be vastly increased. Currently, only 24% of the applicants for the job of police officer are women. The job of Police Officer carries a starting salary of $34,000 and excellent benefits and opportunities for career enhancement. In our recession‑racked economy, these jobs should be as much sought‑after by women as by men. It strains credulity to suggest that in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with thousands of layoffs and cutbacks in all sectors of the economy, there aren't several thousand women who would welcome the challenge, the opportunity, and the financial security of a job at LAPD. These women must be reached and recruited if we are to achieve our goals.
Second, admissions tests must be reviewed and updated to ensure the absence of gender bias, and to ensure that we are testing for officers who will fit the mold of the "new" LAPD. Applicants for police officer positions go through a battery of test. These tests have never been screened for discrimination against female applicants. Between. 1985 and 199 1, almost all the male applicants, but only about half the female applicants, passed the Physical Abilities Test. This test requires that applicants scale a six‑foot wall and perform other activities that favor upper body strength. No matter how agile or strong, women are by nature less suited to these activities. Further, officers are not required to maintain this ability throughout their careers, suggesting these activities are not relevant to job performance. Therefore, it appears this test is used primarily to screen out women candidates. All pats of the Physical Abilities Test must be examined for job relevance and eliminated or changed if required.
The rest of the examination process should be reviewed in the context of gender bias as well. All police recruiting tests are graded on a pass/fail basis except for the Interview. Individuals who achieve a "pass" on every test are admitted to the Academy according to
their interview scores. But the interview may also be biased toward Caucasian men and against women and minorities. Between October, 1991 and the present, interview scores of 95 and above were achieved by 10, 11 and 12% of Hispanic, black and female applicants, respectively; but by fully 18% of the white males. This means that half again as many white males achieved the highest scores as did women and minority men. This may be the result of biased interviewers, questions that favor prior experience in male‑dominated professions, and/or "grade inflation benefiting Caucasian males. These issues must be reviewed and resolved to ensure that women and minorities are not treated unfairly.
The Women's Advisory Council to the Police Commission has completed a yearlong study of issues of gender balance and gender equity in the Police Department. The WAC has identified specific recruiting and testing policies and procedures that can an should be changed to increase the numbers of women officers:
recruitment materials can be changed to emphasize the financial rewards and job security of a career in the LAPD;
recruiting efforts can be directed towards institutions frequented by women, instead of the current bias towards military bases and male‑oriented sporting events; recruiters should target women now working in female‑dominated occupations;
all testing materials should be reviewed and evaluated for relevance to the job of policing. Test that are not indicative of future performance as a police officer, such as "the wall" on the Physical Abilities Test, should be eliminated;
interview panels should be gender balanced, and members of interview panels should be screened for bias against women officers; and
interview questions should be standardized; the criteria for evaluating previous work experience and educational background should be revised to give appropriate weight to skills relevant to community‑based policing, such as interpersonal skills, at which many women excel.
Implementation of these recommendations will enable the city to meet its goal of achieving police department workforce gender parity.
I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council change the annual police hiring goal for women to workforce parity, or 43.4% of all new hires, as of January 1, 1994; and
I FURTBER MOVE that the City Council instruct the Police and Personnel Departments to immediately increase female‑directed police recruiting, and to immediately validate all aspects of police applicant testing so as to remove any gender bias and to promote the goals of community‑based policing; and
I FURTBER MOVE that the Police and Personnel Departments be instructed to report to the council, through its Budget & finance Committee, on resources necessary to achieve these goals, and to work with Chief Legislative Analyst to identify possible sources of grant funding for this purpose.
Sexual Discrimination and Harassment
1. REQUEST the Board of PoliceCommissioners to include among its goals the elimination of gender discrimination, gender bias and sexual harassment within theLAPD, and the achievement of workforce parity for men and women among the sworn officers of the LAPD.
2. REQUEST that the Board of Police Commissioners assign responsibility for achieving these goals to the Chief of Police, with oversight provided by the Commission through one of its employees who will be responsible for working with the Chief of Police in this regard.
3. REQUEST the Board of Police Commissioners to work closely with its employee, with the Chief of Police, and with the entire Department staff to achieve these goals as soon as possible; to commit whatever resources are necessary to this project without delay, and to report back to the City Council quarterly on the Department's progress in this regard.
Accountability of Officers
1. INSTRUCT the Police Commission, with the assistance of the Personnel Department and suitable independent experts, to:
a. Include attitudes towards the role of women in policing and towards female victims of crime as criteria for determining the suitability of applicants to become Police Officers.
b. Give consideration to a candidate's ability to work with and to accept female Police Officers, as well as any history of sexual harassment on the part of an officer, and an officer's handling of sexual harassment cases involving officers under the officer's command, when evaluating officers, selecting officers for promotion and assigning officers to work in Academy and field training positions.
c. Give consideration to the ability of a Police Officer to utilize a style of policing which emphasizes problem‑solving and open communication and is mutually beneficial to the police and the community while mimrnizing excessive use of force and inappropriate confrontation in evaluating officers, selecting officers for promotion, and assigning officers to work in Academy and field training positions.
d. Develop and provide training and counseling to Police Officers at all levels on sexual harassment and sexual discrimination and on the role of women in policing, at regular intervals and, for individual officers, when appropriate.
2. REQUEST the Police Commission to review its policies and procedures for handling instances of sexual harassment against women officers, suspects or callers, to ensure that such instances are considered official misconduct and are reported (whether by the victim or by onlookers), investigated and disciplined as such; and to ensure that women officers feel free to report such instances without fear of retribution.
3. REQUEST the Police Commission to review its policies and procedures for handling charges of sexual discrimination against women officers, in particular its power to review any unresolved sexual discrimination charge and to forward acts of sexual discrimination which may constitute misconduct to the Internal Affairs division for investigation and possible disciplinary action.
4. REQUEST the Police Commission to consider developing policies relative to acts of gender biased and discriminatory behavior, and to consider classifying such acts as official misconduct.
1 . STATE the City Council's intent to recruit and hire significantly greater numbers of women in to the sworn workforce of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), such that ultimately the percent of women in the Department will reflect the percent of women in the Los Angeles area workforce.
(7his gender balance provision was superseded by the attached City Council motion adopted November 1993)