30X30 Initiative hopes to increase
involvement of women by 2030
Women make up an increasingly large proportion of police departments. One of the reasons for the change lies in the 30X30 initiative, a national effort begun in 2018 to raise awareness of bringing on more female officers and of demographic diversity at police departments, writes Greg Smith of The Day in New London, Conn.
The article says that more than 250 police departments have signed on to the 30X30 initiative, pledging to boost female participation in policing to 30% by 2030. The participating departments share their experiences and ask departments to examine closely any policies and procedures that may help women officers succeed.
Maureen Q. McGough, chief of strategic initiatives for the New York University School of Law and a co-founder of the initiative, said that studies show that female officers use excessive force less often, end up as targets for complaints and lawsuits less often, are perceived as having greater empathy, and make fewer discretionary arrests among non-Whites.
Nationwide, women make up about 12% of sworn officers but hold only 3% of leadership positions. East Lyme, Connecticut, has exceeded the national average by 6.5 percentage points with five women among its 27 officers, the highest participation of all the departments polled, according to the article.
“Our department is always searching for the best candidate to become East Lyme police officers, and in doing so we continue to try and create an agency that is responsive to the community and one that mirrors the community we serve,” said East Lyme police chief Michael Finkelstein, quoted in The Day.
Finkelstein added that his department offers college internships that include many female students and “strives to ensure the reputation and work environment, especially for female candidates, is a comfortable one to work in.” His female officers inform young women that “they can strive to attain” a career in law enforcement.
Groton, Conn., not far from East Lyme, has a female captain, the highest rank held by any woman in the state at this time. New London, Conn., had a female chief between 2009 and 2017. Recruitment in other municipalities in the state has improved recently.
Ledyard, Conn., had no women applicants from 2011 to 2021. Chief John Rich said that his department took a more proactive approach to recruitment by trying to widen visibility on social media and at job fairs at high schools and colleges. He now has three women in his 23-member department, the article said.
Christina Nocito, 42, a former bank employee, took a job as a community resource officer in the New London Police Department in 2021, despite another female officer’s pending lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by two fellow New London officers. The article says that Nocito considers her experiences so far as positive.
Nocito said that women can bring a different perspective to law enforcement. “I think we add patience,” the article quoted Nocito as saying. “…Maybe we’re more understanding in certain situations.
“I always knew that when I was ready to do this I would apply to New London,” she said. “I grew up here. Why not help the community where you grew up.”