A lot of criticism was heard regarding the
fact that a female deputy was escorting such
a big, dangerous man.  There's little doubt
that a male deputy the same age and size as
the female deputy would have fared any
better.  Nichols' subsequent violence
showed he had a plan indicating to some that
even a male deputy equal in size and
strength wouldn't have changed anything.  
But...by crediting him with a plan, one must
assume he gave considerable thought to the
certainty that he could disarm the deputy.  If
the deputy had been equal in size and
strength, one must wonder if Nichols would
have delayed his plan; until, a target of more
certainty presented itself.

One needs to understand how men think:

When I was a brand new police officer, I
worked with an officer who was amazing
when it came to use of force.  He was only of
medium height, but he was all muscle.  He
never looked that big, because his uniform
never fit that well.  His winter coat sort of
just hung on him making him look somewhat

On a number of occasions, he and I
confronted suspects who were definite
candidates for use of force.  I was
considerably taller, and in every instance,
these bad guys focused on my shorter

Not one of those guys ever got past the first
offensive gesture, because that first move
was always met with one devastating knock
out punch.  The officer could take a punch as
well.  As we placed one of the officer's
semi-conscious would be sparring partners
into the paddy wagon, the suspect kicked
the officer squarely on his chin.  He
stumbled back a couple of steps, shook his
head, and he went back to subduing the

I've talked a lot about the man's
psychological edge, but there are so many
other factors when a man contemplates
resisting any police officer's use of force
against him.  Any man, aside from a true
mental case, always considers the
possibility, or to some the certainty, of

I was still really new when I became
involved in a particularly violent altercation
with a suspect my size.  I was very relieved
when I heard radios and saw hands reaching
down to separate us.

After I checked by torn uniform, counted by
various bumps and bruises, and generally
put myself back together, I walked over to
where the suspect had been placed inside
the wagon.  I noticed the suspect had a
laceration to his lip which I did not recall
seeing when I was pulled off of him.  I also
noticed a line of police officers trying to get
past the wagon man and into the back of the

The wagon man was one of the old guys, and
he was having none of it.  The sergeant soon
arrived, and the wagon man had his ear.  I
then saw the sergeant grab on to an officer
who was even newer than I and put him
inside the wagon with the prisoner for the
ride to the station.

While retribution does not occur with the
regularity as it once did, bad guys still
believe it does.  Police departments are
constantly in the process of projecting a
kinder, gentler image, but let's hope the bad
guys never buy into that image.

In my book, and on this site, I talk a lot
about self-sufficiency.  However, use of
force is one area where no police officer can
succeed in achieving total self-sufficiency.  
Police officers quickly learn that their
safety, and indeed their very survival,
depends on their fellow police officers.

Feminists and others are very disappointed
that women don't comprise a larger
percentage of police departments.  
Whatever the reasons, it's no coincidence
that height and proportionate weight
requirements for police officers were
abandoned at the same time women entered
police work as police officers.  While your
height and weight won't be discriminating
factors against your employment as a police
officer, you should make a personal and
honest assessment of your physical abilities
to exert force and defend yourself.      
In 2005, the rate of assaults on police
officers was 11.9 per 100 sworn officers -
breakdown by sex is not available.  In 2005,
fifty-five police officers were feloniously
killed in the line of duty.  Of those 55 killed,
only one was a female police officer.  From
1996 to 2005, 575 police officers were
feloniously killed.  Of that number, 29 were

I looked at the total number of assaults
reported for 2005.  The law enforcement
agencies that reported assault data to the
FBI employed 485,048 sworn officers.  
Depending on where you look, females
comprise 10 to 14 percent of the nation's
police officers.  Let's spilt the difference at
12%.  Now we have 58,206 female officers
and 426,842 male officers Since information
on male/female police officer assaults is not
available, it's impossible to know if female
officers are assaulted at a greater or lesser
rate than male officers.

So...we're pretty much left with beliefs and
perceptions when it comes to your ability as
a female police officer to exert force against
a group which will be predominantly male.  
However, the only belief that matters is your
belief in your ability to exert force just as
effectively as most men.  You'll soon learn
that few male police officers can get
handcuffs on another man who doesn't want
to be cuffed when it's a one on one use of

There's no question that physical size has a
lot to do with any police officer's ability to
exert force or effectively defend oneself
whether the officer is male or female:

On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols, 33, was
being escorted by a 51 year old female
sheriff's deputy to his rape trial inside an
Atlanta Courthouse.  Nichols disarmed and
seriously injured the deputy, who was half
his size, before entering the courtroom and
shooting the judge and court reporter to
death with the deputy's gun.  He would
murder another sheriff's deputy on his
escape from the courthouse as well as an off
duty federal agent, at the agent's home, as
he eluded capture.
Here's the good news...as a female police
officer, you can get away with a lot more
when it comes to the use of force than male
police officers.  I'm not talking about
indiscriminate use of deadly force or
anything that is
obviously excessive force.

But...obvious is the key word.  To a whole
lot of people, any use of force by a police
officer is obvious excessive force.  To a
whole lot of other people, any force used by
a female police officer against a male
suspect is reasonable and justified even if
the justification needs to be stretched a bit.

The feminists spend a lot of time
complaining about how female police officers
are viewed and treated differently from male
police officers.  However, the feminist view
is always selective, and it always dwells on
negative or perceived negative treatment of
female police officers by their male
coworkers and supervisors.  When it comes
to the very serious question of force, the
feminist view would have you believe that,
as a female police officer, you'll rarely find
the need to use any kind of force since your
conflict resolution skills are far superior to
those of men.  This is the view most often
cited to confront any criticism regarding a
woman's ability to physically confront and
subdue male suspects.

Let's put aside all the back and forth by
people who simply have no idea what use of
force is all about.  Whether you're female or
male, you should always view any level of
force as a last resort.  The improvement of
your ability to calmly, rationally, and
effectively communicate with people under
stressful circumstances should be a goal
pursued continuously throughout your
career.  Never the less, you must realize
that your use of force is inevitable.  The
number of times you use force will be
dictated only by the amount of time you
remain in a position where your duties are
enforcement oriented.

As a young woman contemplating a police
career, you might feel that the women who
pioneered entry into police departments
before you were born made the way
smoother for you.  As a man who got to see
women in police work from the beginning to
the present, I see something just the
opposite.  When women first entered police
departments to perform the same duties as
men, those women didn't have the word
VICTIM" stamped across their foreheads.  
Can anyone seriously argue that, in today's
society, women are not continually
portrayed as victims for any number of
physical outrages at the hands of men?  
Factual or not, this societal image of women
does not benefit a female police officer.

Here's the bad news.  All men, barring those
with significant physical disability, believe
they're physically superior to any woman
when it comes to the question of which can
physically subdue the other.  Whether the
outcome of a particular physical
confrontation proves or disproves this belief
is irrelevant since it remains a psychological
advantage for a bad man, and a
psychological disadvantage for a female
police officer.
Female Cops
and Force
"All men, barring those with significant
physical disability, believe they're
physically superior to any woman when
it comes to the question of which can
physically subdue the other."
~ Barry M. Baker
Copyright © 2015  Barry M. Baker