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Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Lynne Doucette

Lynne Doucette

Lt. Lynne D. Doucette is a patrol supervisor and defensive tactics trainer with the Brunswick (Maine) PD. Prior to being the first female promoted at BPD, she worked as an undercover detective assigned to the state narcotics task force.

Patricia Teinert

Patricia Teinert

Patricia A. Teinert has been a Texas peace officer since 1984. She has served as a patrol officer, investigator, and member of a juvenile gang and narcotics task force. She is currently a patrol officer with Katy ISD Police Department.
Women in Law Enforcement

Making a Professional Impression

July 13, 2009  |  by Dina Zapalski - Also by this author

A professional appearance for female police officers is extremely important, because it's the first thing that is judged by others, whether by other officers or the public. As a female police officer in the field, appearance and presence are critical in the handling of many incidents and situations.

All female police officers in uniform should have their hair pulled back up off the shoulders and pinned down. While in uniform, hair that is down or in a ponytail looks unprofessional and presents officer-safety concerns.

It's important for female officers to remain females, even though they are in a male-dominated profession. When it comes to wearing makeup, having their nails done, or wearing earrings or rings, it's up to the individual female police officer, and long as it's not excessive.

As a female sergeant, it's my responsibility to show other female officers what the standard should be. For the past 15 years, I have always pulled my hair back and pinned it down, used makeup and had manicured nails.  Police Departments are para-militaristic organizations, therefore the females representing them must take on the appearance of a professional.

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Elisa Umpierre @ 2/24/2012 7:11 AM

I disagree with the assertion that female officers who wear their hair down while in uniform look unprofessional. The public we serve absolutley accepts that many professional, highly competent women have hair that goes past the top of their shoulders. The choice to wear make-up, rings, earrings, manicured nails and how they wear their hair should be up to the police officers themselves - within the boudaries of professional standards of appearance.

Jessica Olson @ 6/17/2014 1:06 AM

While many women are able to wear their hair down and long as professionals in their given fields, this is simply not the case in police work. Long hair serves as a safety hazard to the woman and her fellow officers who rely on her. There are standards of dress and rules regulating hair in our field. If a woman chooses not to follow these rules, then it does indeed look very unprofessional.

karen jacobs @ 10/8/2015 9:25 AM

The first thing a criminal is going to do is grab hold of that long hair. I have seen some officer's with extreme long nails. That should not be- it is extremely hard to handcuff an individual and if you gouge that individual and injure them - that could spell trouble for you and your department. Another thing is long earrings. No department should allow the officer to wear long earrings. That's the first thing a criminal will do- is see where your weak points are so that he can disable you. You are then of no use to your partner- the situation or the public.
Karen jacobs Retired police officer from the state of nevada. I also write animal protection laws.

Jasmine Juarez @ 11/2/2017 8:45 PM

I believe their should be regulations on earrings and nails. Nails no longer than an inch and wear studs while in uniform you are not going to a party you don't need hanging earrings while you are on duty what if they get caught in something and the hair can not only be something a suspect and grab onto but it can get stuck on something when in pursuit. Nails are a huge liability not only can u hurt the suspect and be subjected to a law suit but hand cuffing and you can injure yourself while inn a hand to hand combat.

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