By 2009, an estimated 110,670 female officers, 15.5 percent of the U..S. total, were serving in state and local police departments nationwide, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Female officers might be disappointed if they looked beyond urban and state departments to the makeup of suburban police forces. The Post-Gazette examined 30 suburban police departments in the Pittsburgh area and counted a total of 740 law enforcement agents. Of those agents, 22 are women — or about 2.9 percent.
Fifteen of the 30 departments employ no females. Ten employ a single female officer, three have two female officers and two other departments have three women on their forces. The Pittsburgh police department has 169 women officers among its squad of 905, about 18 percent of its force. The Pennsylvania State Police have a complement of 4,677 total officers with 4,408 officers currently working. Of the 4,408, 209 are women, roughly 4.7 percent. As to lack of female officrs in the suburbs, Officer Angela Zane of the Moon police department said: “For most of my career, anything I go to, I’m the only woman there.” Women who are victims or suspects can relate more easily to a female officer, and female officers consistently are needed for searches and prisoner transfers. Departments without women regularly request assistance from female officers in neighboring departments for searches, or sometimes they train female civilians on staff to conduct searches.