Prior to 1974, New Bedford had two distinct police categories: males were "police officers" and females were "police women." At that time, male applicants were ineligible for positions as police officers if they failed to meet a minimum height requirement of five feet six inches. In February 1974 the city abandoned these separate job categories, and thereafter both men and women competed for positions as "police officers." Women applicants were then also required to meet the five feet six-inch height minimum.
Since the minimum height requirement excludes far more women than men from competing for positions as police officers, the requirement has a disparate impact on women.