The Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) has pledged to increase female officers to 30% by 2030 as part of the “30×30” pledge.
The pledge is a national initiative created by the Policing Project at New York University (NYU) School of Law, and has had 104 police departments commit to it since it was launched in March this year.
According to the 30×30 Pledge website, agencies who have signed up have agreed to “increase the representation of women in all ranks of law enforcement; ensure that policies and procedures are free of all bias; promote equitable hiring, retention and promotion of women officers; and ensure their culture is inclusive, respectful, and supportive of women in all ranks and roles of law enforcement.”
So far, CPD is the first Ohio law enforcement agency to take the pledge.
CPD Police Officer Jennifer Chilton joined other female colleagues at a press conference to make the announcement.
“In light of the last couple years, a lot of people are realizing that they want to be part of change in their community. Becoming a police officer is one way to do that,” Chilton said.
Chilton, a third-generation police officer in her family, is helping to recruit applicants for the CPD’s fall exam to achieve the quota.
According to NYU data, 12% of sworn officers in the country are women, with only 3% of those in leadership positions. In Cincinnati, the number is a little higher at 22%.
Maureen Q. McGough, co-founder of the initiative, described it as a “grassroots effort to improve the representation of women and ensure policing agencies are environments where women officers not only survive but thrive.”
McGough said that the initiative is important for gender equality, but also public safety as women demonstrate “unique value” compared to their male counterparts.
McGough said that research shows women use less force than male officers, and tend to be perceived as more trustworthy, thus obtaining better outcomes for crime victims.
“Addressing many of the critical issues in policing today requires us to deeply examine who is being hired, and what skills and abilities are valued in hiring and promotional processes,” McGough said. “We are confident that improving the representation of qualified women in policing will result in improvements in public safety outcomes for communities.”
McGough added that changing hiring and recruiting practices is not about lowering standards but more adequately matching the job requirements.
“It’s not about lowering the standards; it’s about changing the standards to better match the actual requirements of the job,” she said. “In doing so, I suspect you’ll see higher pass rates for diverse demographic groups.”
The CPD has made a concerted effort to increase diversity in their ranks, having promoted two women to the rank of assistant chief and three Black men as the last three police chiefs.
Executive Assistant Chief Teresa Theetge said it’s important for the department to reflect the diversity of the population they serve.
“We make a very concerted effort to make sure [recruiting classes] are as diverse as they can be. I think what it says about CPD is that we value the women in this department just as much as we value men to go out and police the streets of Cincinnati,” Theetge said.