DES MOINES, IA -- The Des Moines Police Department is joining a national initiative to recruit 30% more women to be in the field by 2030.
New York University's School of Law Policing Project launched the 30x30 campaign last month to encourage police agencies to advance women in law enforcement.
Currently women make up only 12% of sworn police officers and less than 3% of police leadership in the U.S., numbers that have remained stagnant for decades.
-- Policing Project, NYU School of Law.
The Des Moines Police Department jumped on board.
"It's something that caught our attention early on as they started pushing it out." Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek says it's an attainable goal for the department. "I think the reason for that is, we've got the right people in the right places to make that happen."
Sgt. Parizek says in it's latest recruiting cycle, about 17% of applicants are women before rolling the project out.
"It tells us a couple things - that the desire is there on both sides. I think as we start pushing the program out there and kind of highlighting the role of women in our organization, we'll see those numbers rise."
The project is actively recruiting more police agencies to join the initiative.
On it's website, the Policing Project says agencies who sign the pledge "demonstrate to the field—and the public—that policing is ready and willing to address the gender disparities that have existed since the profession’s founding."
The Policing Project says studies show women are less likely to use excessive force, they're named in fewer lawsuits, and perceived by their communities as more empathetic and compassionate.
"I had a female partner for awhile and I think it made us, it made me a better cop. There were just certain things that she brought to the table that I might be missing with that women's perspective that she had," said Sgt. Parizek. "We know, there's been studies on this, women are less likely to use excessive force. I've had women in our organization tell me that [they] know [they are] not going to be able to overpower this person like some of [their] male counterparts could. So they compensate wit their compassion, their communication skills, their ability to connect with people."
The 30x30 Initiative is a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations, including the founding partners Policing Project and NAWLEE (National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives), as well as the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), National Police Foundation, and the International Association of Women Police, who have joined together to advance the representation and experiences of women in policing agencies across the United States.
-- Policing Project, NYU School of Law