DPD Pledges to Advance Women in Policing

Published on March 25, 2021

National 30x30 Pledge Aims to Bring More Women into Policing to Improve Public Safety, Community Outcomes, and Trust in Law Enforcement

Denver – March 25, 2021 – Today, the Denver Police Department (DPD) signed the 30x30 Pledge – a series of low- and no-cost actions law enforcement agencies can take to improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement. The activities help participating agencies assess the current state of their departments with regard to gender equity, identify factors that may be driving any disparities, and develop and implement strategies and solutions to eliminate barriers and advance women in policing. These actions address recruitment, assessment, hiring, retention, promotion, and agency culture.

The ultimate goal of the 30x30 Initiative is to reach 30 percent of women in police recruit classes by 2030 (43 percent of DPD’s current class of 21 recruits are women), and to ensure law enforcement agencies are truly representative of the community the agency serves. While the 30x30 Initiative is focused on advancing women in policing, these principles are applicable to diversity for all demographics, not just gender.

Nationally, women make up only 12 percent of sworn officers. At the Denver Police Department, women represent 15 percent of all DPD officers.

“While DPD is above the national average regarding women officers there is more work to be done in expanding recruitment, career satisfaction and promotional opportunities for women,” said Chief of Police Paul M. Pazen. “Our goal is to take the pledge a step further by increasing the representation of women to 30 percent, not only in future recruit classes, but also agency-wide.”

The Denver Police Department is committed to this effort because research suggests that women officers:

  • Use less force and less excessive force
  • Are named in fewer complaints and lawsuits
  • Are perceived by communities as being more honest and compassionate
  • See better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases

Prior to taking the 30x30 Pledge, DPD was already working towards increasing women in policing through initiatives such as Women’s Community Academies and the DPD Women’s Collective. This past weekend, DPD hosted its third Women’s Community Academy, which offers women hands-on and classroom-based opportunities to learn more about a career in law enforcement (photos are available for download here). The DPD Women’s Collective is an internal working group comprised of women leaders, officers, and civilian employees with the goal of collecting feedback about departmental culture and opportunities, discussing needs, and identifying supports.

“We are grateful to the Denver Police Department for being one of the first in the nation to commit to being a part of this growing movement,” said Maureen McGough, co-founder of the 30x30 Initiative, Chief of Staff of the Policing Project at the New York University School of Law, and former policing expert at the U.S. Department of Justice. “We believe strongly that advancing women in policing is critical to improving public safety outcomes. We look forward to having more agencies follow the Denver Police Department’s lead by signing the pledge and improving the representation and experiences of women in policing.”

More than 35 agencies – from major metro departments, to mid-sized, rural, university and state policing agencies – have signed the 30x30 Pledge. The Pledge is based on social science research that finds that greater representation of women on police forces leads to better policing outcomes for communities. The 30x30 Pledge is the foundational effort of the 30x30 Initiative – a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations who have joined together to advance the representation and experiences of women in all ranks of policing across the United States. The 30x30 Initiative is affiliated with the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE).

For more information, visit www.30x30initiative.org.