150 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada pledge to increase the number of women in the ranks to 30% by 2030

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By Emma Tucker, CNN

The Memphis Police Department and New York State Police pledged this week to increase the representation of women in their ranks to 30%, joining a total of 150 law enforcement agencies across the United States. and in Canada who have made the commitment in the past year. .

The 30×30 Initiative is a coalition of police chiefs, researchers and professional organizations aiming to increase the representation of women in police recruiting classes to 30% by 2030 and to ensure that the culture and police policies support these women throughout their careers.

Four other police departments have made the pledge — which celebrated its first anniversary on Friday — in recent weeks, including Fresno, Calif.; the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington DC; Indiana University in Bloomington; and the city of Bloomington, Indiana, according to Kym Craven, executive director of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE).

Research shows that women make up about 12% of sworn positions in law enforcement nationwide and just 3% of leadership positions, Craven said.

The 30×30 Initiative is affiliated with NAWLEE and the NYU School of Law Policing Project.

“We started this without any funding and with sheer willpower. We have now attracted funding and are expanding our programming accordingly,” Craven said. “They’re coming in steadily and we’re getting a really big diversity of agencies signing up now. Even the smaller agencies are seeing they can join the pledge.

State police departments are even further behind

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that New York State Police have signed the 30×30 pledge as part of their recruitment drive for their entrance exam, which is the first step to become a state trooper, according to a press release.

The state police, which has 11.6 percent women among its members, has also “redesigned its recruiting program to reach more women and minority applicants,” the governor’s office said.

The New York State Police was “established through the efforts of two women,” Moyca Newell and Katherine Mayo, who started a “movement to form a state police department that would provide protection to all areas rural areas of New York,” according to Hochul. Office. As a result of their efforts, the New York State Legislature passed an act in 1917 that established the State Police.

“The State Police was established over 100 years ago after the determined efforts of two women,” Hochul said in a statement. “We will build on this legacy and continue to diversify our ranks, and I encourage anyone who is interested to take advantage of the opportunity to have a profound and positive impact on the lives of others by joining this app community. of the law.”

Craven said the move is significant because the number of women in state law enforcement is much lower than in municipal organizations, hovering between 7% and 9% of female representation in the ranks.

“When you think 12-13% being the average and you’re going to hit 30% by 2030, state policing organizations are just way further behind,” she said.

“As these big agencies come on board and can adopt these policies and practices that can really change what it looks like in the long run, they need to be able to step forward and be informed,” Craven added. .

‘Law enforcement wasn’t ready for us,’ chief says

Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis, the department’s first female chief, announced Tuesday that the agency will take the 30×30 pledge to celebrate Women’s History Month.

The number of women in the department is already higher than the national average, standing at 17%, according to the department.

“17% is a lot, especially in a male-dominated environment,” Davis said in a public statement. “If we are intentional in our recruitment drives and project our department as an inclusive service for any woman who wants a challenging career, I believe we can make it happen. We have time to get there. »

Davis, who was appointed in 2021, said the initiative was an “incredible opportunity” to promote women and noted that she was one of only two female officers to graduate from her recruit class. at the beginning of his career.

“It wasn’t to say that other women in this class weren’t qualified, it was that we were ready for law enforcement, but law enforcement wasn’t ready for us,” she said.

Police still need more diversity

NAWLEE was established in 1996 by six female police chiefs to support women in the field. The association offers a mentorship program to help agencies promote as many women as possible into the ranks by providing support, training and education.

It also organizes focus groups to examine women-friendly policies such as modified work hours for women planning to have children and strict policies against discrimination and harassment.

Departments across the country have higher percentages of women in their recruit classes, Craven said, as NAWLEE continues to raise awareness and awareness of the movement.

Police departments in major cities such as Baltimore; Austin, TX; New York; and Miami have all signed the pledge, agreeing to report on their efforts to “identify and address barriers women officers face in recruitment and throughout their careers,” according to the initiative’s website.

In December, New York became the largest city to appoint its first female police chief to lead an agency that employs around 52,000 people. Cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, Oakland, Portland, Oregon, and Washington, DC, have all had female police chiefs or currently employ one.

According to the 30×30 Initiative, the under-representation of women in the police “undermines public safety”. Research found that female officers are less likely to face allegations of excessive force and are cited in fewer complaints and lawsuits.

The research also shows that “some policies disproportionately deter women from becoming law enforcement officers,” according to a special report by the National Institute of Justice.

By joining the initiative, agencies agree to increase female representation at all levels; ensure that policies and procedures are free from bias; promote the equitable hiring, retention and promotion of women; and ensure that their culture is inclusive, respectful and supportive of female officers.

“We look forward to the expanded role of women in the profession,” Craven said. “We really believe it’s a way to build trust within communities, and because of the different strategies that women bring to this role, it will really change the profession over time.”

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