UCPD signs pledge to support women-identifying officers, diversify hires

photo of a UCPD car
David McAllister/File
UCPD is one of the first 100 police departments nationwide to sign the 30x30 Pledge, which aims to increase the presence of women in the U.S. police force.

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UCPD has become one of the first major police departments in the country to join a nationwide initiative to support women in law enforcement while diversifying new hires.

The 30×30 Pledge is a joint effort between the Policing Project at the New York University School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, or NAWLEE. They aim to increase the presence of women in the U.S. police force to at least 30% by 2030, according to Kym Craven, NAWLEE executive director.

UCPD is one of the first 100 police departments nationwide to sign the pledge, joining major law enforcement agencies including the Los Angeles and New York police departments, according to Maureen McGough, chief of staff at the Policing Project.

“Right now law enforcement is not diverse,” Craven said. “Any time you can have diversity and inclusion and be more representative of the public just by those changes, there will be more relatability.”

As of now, women make up 24% of UCPD’s sworn police officers, according to a UCPD press release. Nationally, they make up only 12% of sworn officers, with only 3% of police leadership positions being held by women.

McGough said in an email an increase in women hires will benefit surrounding communities as research demonstrates that women officers use less excessive force and are generally perceived as more empathetic and honest.

“At NAWLEE, we try to do a lot of different things, such as a mentoring program to help support women,” Craven said. “We are outnumbered in the profession and we are working in a collaborative way and we have many forward-thinking male chiefs that are advocating for and supporting women.”

The 30×30 Pledge also aims to improve working conditions for women in law enforcement through a series of “immediate” action items and low- to no-cost policy changes. This includes the affirmation of a “zero-tolerance” policy on workplace harassment, according to the 30×30 Pledge website.

McGough noted that 93.8% of women officers experienced sexual harassment during their careers.

Other items listed include support for nursing mothers by way of work schedule flexibility and the creation of designated office spaces for private and sanitary pumping.

“Our pledge means that UCPD is actively working toward improving the representation and experiences of women identifying officers in our department,” said Margo Bennett, UCPD chief, in a press release. “We are honored to be among the first 100 departments in the nation to make this important commitment, and we look forward to working with and learning from agencies across the country who share our priority.”

Matt Brown is the lead city government reporter. Contact him at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @maattttbrown .