30x30 Initiative Works to Increase the Number of Women in Law Enforcement
Thursday, April 28, 2022 | Comments
The 30x30 Initiative is an industry effort aimed at getting more women involved in law enforcement. Currently, the initiative and Mark43 are partnering to hold listening sessions to learn the challenges women in law enforcement are facing. To get an idea of the initiative’s goals and the challenges facing women in law enforcement, we talked to Ganesha Martin, a member of the 30x30 Initiative Steering Committee and vice president of community affairs and public policy for Mark43.

Tell us about the 30x30 Initiative and why Mark43 chose to get involved in it?
The 30x30 Initiative is a coalition of police leaders, researchers and professional organizations who have come together to increase the representation of women in police agencies to 30% by 2030.

At Mark43, we are committed to being more than just a public-safety software platform; we are committed to being part of the solution to the challenges police departments face. This includes a lack of female representation across law enforcement. I saw an opportunity to partner with 30x30 and work together to convene listening sessions across the country to capture actionable insight from female police officers with the shared goal of attracting more women to careers in law enforcement.

What are the challenges around getting more women involved in law enforcement?
This is not a new problem or one that will be instantly fixed. To address historic underrepresentation and inequity, there needs to be commitment of all involved, and also money, research, time and a lot of hard work. Getting women into law enforcement careers is one step forward, but it is also important to make sure they stay and that there is a culture shift that intentionally supports women and their leadership path. And we have to start somewhere. Mark43 is working with 30x30 to address these challenges by providing a platform for transparent conversations and problem solving, which can then be scaled across police departments. Following the focus groups, Mark43 and 30x30 will share findings and additional recommendations for police departments to create sustainable, structural change.

What are some of the solutions to these challenges? How can data transparency help with that?
Data transparency is essential across all facets of law enforcement. It is critical for violence reduction, meaningful engagement with community members, and of course, for recruitment and retention.

While I served as a leader in the Baltimore Police Department, I championed data transparency. It was key to our reform efforts to make the department more responsive to the needs of community members and in our work to reduce violence. Using data and technology for good is vital for law enforcement, and it’s ultimately why I joined Mark43: to further its mission of empowering communities and their governments with new technologies that improve safety and quality of life for all.

Through research and data, we know that women comprise only 13% of sworn law enforcement personnel and only 3% of leadership positions. Research also shows that women officers often achieve better public-safety outcomes.

This data should continue to be collected and shared. However, we’ve reached a crucial inflection point where women across all sectors are leaving the workforce for various reasons. There must continue to be research into why this is happening, what obstacles are presented within specific industries, and how these problems can be mitigated going forward. An important way to do this is by listening and collecting information, and that’s why we are championing our 30x30 listening sessions.

By facilitating these listening sessions, women in law enforcement have a megaphone to discuss topics like career trajectory, leadership opportunities and challenges they’ve faced. Following these focus groups, Mark43 and 30x30 will share actionable findings to ultimately increase the representation of women officers.

Alongside these open conversations, data transparency will continue to be key in accountability and measuring success as agencies follow through on their commitment to create a space for qualified women to thrive in public safety.

What have been some of the successes of the 30x30 Initiative so far?
Notably, more than 160 law enforcement agencies across the country have taken the 30x30 pledge, committing to increasing the representation of women in police recruit classes to 30% by 2030. Each of these agencies have agreed to not only increase the representation of qualified women in all ranks of law enforcement, but also to ensure that policies and procedures are free of bias, and to promote the equitable hiring, retention and promotion of women officers. The impact of 30x30 is clear: agencies have already revised recruitment materials and strategies to more accurately reflect the realities of the job to reach qualified women, as well as reforms to policies that unnecessarily restrict or impact women.

We know that communities thrive when they see themselves represented in local policies, practices and personnel. By committing to the 30x30 pledge and ultimately, by hiring and retaining more women, police departments will reap the benefits, along with the communities they serve. By committing to the 30x30 pledge, police departments will undergo a critical change that will have a significant impact in improving policing and public safety.

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