The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Expert on Racial and Gender Disparity in Policing Only New England Scholar Selected to Participate in Congressional Briefing

University of New Haven criminal justice professor Anne Kringen, a former police officer, was invited to present at a congressional briefing on October 11 that will examine improving justice for women and girls.

October 8, 2018

By Dave Cranshaw, Office of Marketing & Communications

Anne Kringen headshot
Anne Kringen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Anne Kringen, Ph.D., an expert on racial and gender disparity in policing, police hiring and recruiting, community policing, and the organizational structures of police departments, will testify as part of a congressional briefing titled "Improving Justice for Women and Girls" that will take place in Washington, D.C., on October 11.

A former police officer, she will discuss the challenges faced by women working in law enforcement and barriers that females face in the hiring process to become police officers.

The only scholar from New England invited to participate, she will join experts from American University, UCLA, Michigan State, and The Citadel, among other institutions, at the briefing. The audience will include more than 100 U.S. Senators and Representatives as well as their legislative staffs.

"Given the polarization surrounding policing issues these days, I think it is very important to establish a firm understanding of the forces that are external to policing that reinforce the status quo."Anne Kringen, Ph.D.

"Only by understanding these issues can we begin to move the discussion in a healthy direction that is oriented toward mutual understanding," Kringen says.

After the briefing, Kringen will develop a manuscript that will be published in a forthcoming special issue of Translational Criminology, the magazine of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University.

Kringen recently spent a year working within a major metropolitan police department to study its hiring process.

"I can say that the organization, including many members of the command staff, was grateful for the research that I conducted and the recommendations that I made," she said. "As a result, several rules impacting women within the department were changed."

This, she says, illustrates that it is not necessarily police departments do not want to diversify.

"Rather, two key problems may make it difficult for agencies to address these issues," she says. "First, many of the rules related to hiring are outside the control of individual departments. Second, police departments often lack any guidance as to how to best attempt to address limited diversity."

A Call for Federal Funding

Kringen advocates for a central clearinghouse for information on addressing diversification issues in policing and for modifications to the Law Enforcement Inclusion Act to include language specifically authorizing funding for agencies to hire women as police officers. Agencies complying with the disseminated best practices and adopting recommended record-keeping systems to support the development of additional evidence-based practices should receive priority consideration for the hiring funds, she says.

"Federal support for advancing women in other areas (such as STEM) reflects an understanding that women face substantial challenges when entering historically male fields," she says. Supporting women as they enter law enforcement careers addresses a similar gender issue while providing the substantial social benefit of improving the quality of policing within our communities."

Widely published, she’s written book chapters and commissioned reports, and her peer-reviewed articles include "They Can’t Search Her: How Gender Imbalances in the Police Force Contributes to Perceptions of Procedural Unfairness" in Feminist Criminology and "Identifying Barriers to Black Applicants in Police Employment Screening" in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice.

"I am very interested in the factors that facilitate or hinder change within police organizations," she says.

"I hope that my work expands our understanding of these factors so we can move in the direction of more effectively implementing policies and practices in police organizations that lead to better outcomes for both citizens and officers." Anne Kringen, Ph.D.