The Gender Gap and the Top Cops

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden pose for photographs with the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award winners on May 12, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden pose for photographs with the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award winners on May 12, 2014 in Washington, DC.

The top two officials in the U.S. government have an affinity for cops because they spend so much time with them. Barack Obama and Joe Biden aren’t allowed to spend much time alone in their jobs, so unless they’re asleep, there’s probably an officer – or 100 – nearby.

Obama quipped about the constant security presence today in a White House ceremony honoring winners of the National Association of Police Organizations “Top Cops” awards saying they “have the privilege of being surrounded by them every minute of every day.”

Obama lauded the 53 officers’ heroics for rescuing hostages, defusing bombs and keeping the nation generally safe from bad guys.

“On behalf of all the American people, thank you,” Obama said. “There are people alive today because of you.”

One thing Obama didn’t mention was the fact that there was not a single woman standing behind him among the honorees. The White House is calling attention to gender disparity in pay, with Obama hammering home a message that women deserve to be paid equal pay for equal work. While it’s true that men far outnumber women in law enforcement, they are not unrepresented in the ranks. According to the Justice Department, 13 percent of police officers are women.

Among the women in uniform are chiefs of both Washington’s police department and the U.S. Secret Service, the two agencies serving closest to the president.

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