Chief Beverly Harvard of the Atlanta Police Department and Chief Jan Strauss of the Mesa, Arizona Police Department will be stepping down as chiefs of police this year. Both women were the first female chiefs in their departments. Additionally, Beverly Harvard was the first African-American female chief in the U.S. and Jan Strauss was Arizona’s first female chief. Both women are members of the National Center for Women & Policing’s Advisory Board. Harvard’s term will end next week, and Strauss will retire on November 30th. The loss of two of the nation’s female chiefs coincides with what appears to be a decrease in the percentage of women in policing. According to the NCWP’s Status of Women in Policing Survey, women comprised 14% of sworn staff in police departments with over 100 officers in 1999; in 2001, women were only 12.7% of all officers. This in the representation of women in policing is thought to be a result of poor policing recruitment efforts, cutbacks in affirmative action, and the expiration of 1970’s consent decrees that mandated increased hiring of women. With women accounting for only 7.3% of all top command positions, the NCWP bids a regretful goodbye to Chief Harvard and Chief Strauss, but congratulates them on their new opportunities and on all they have done to break down the barriers for women in law enforcement.
Media Resources: The Arizona Republic, 6/5/02; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/2/02