(Washington, DC) Today, one week into Women’s History Month, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department announced the District’s participation in the 30x30 Pledge, an initiative derived from a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations, who together aim to advance the representation and experiences of women in police agencies across the United States. The goal is to increase the representation of women in police department recruit classes to 30% by 2030, and to ensure police policies and culture intentionally support the success of women officers throughout their careers.
“For many years, we have been deliberately focused on making sure the Metropolitan Police Department represents and reflects our community,” said Mayor Bowser. “It is one of the reasons why we invest so much into the Cadet Corps program – because the program allows us to attract and retain DC residents to be DC police, especially women. As we grow MPD back to 4,000 officers, we are proud to highlight the important work of women at MPD and to invite more women in the community to join them.”
Nationwide, women make up approximately 12% of sworn police officers and 3% of police leadership. Currently, Washington, DC is ahead of the national average, with women making up 23% of MPD’s sworn officers. Still, the Department remains focused on hiring more women to ensure MPD reflects and represents the community. MPD’s most recent incoming recruit class was 52% women – all DC natives – and the current MPD Cadet Corps is 47% women. Since taking office, Mayor Bowser has made it a priority to invest in and grow the Cadet Program, expanding the program from 20 cadets in 2015 to 150 cadets in Fiscal Year 2022.
“This pledge is important, not only for our current female members, but for all the women and girls around the country who are watching and saying to themselves, “I too can be a police officer in Washington, DC,” said Chief Robert J. Contee III. “The Metropolitan Police Department may have already hit the 30% goal, but we will not stop there. I am eager to take part in and see the change this initiative will bring to MPD and to our city. As a department, we are deeply committed to bringing equality to all of our members and will continue to strive to advance their representation in our agency.”
Departments that join the 30x30 Pledge will share information with each other about their successes and challenges. As part of the 30x30 initiative, MPD is conducting focus groups with the Police Executive Research Forum with Non-Union and Professional Staff. The goal of these groups is to have frank discussions with members about what MPD is doing well in the sphere of inclusion and diversity. Additionally, MPD is reviewing internal practices such as discipline, use of force reviews, promotional processes, and selections for special assignments. The hope is that, with the participation of the DC Police Union, MPD can also conduct these focus groups with officers and sergeants.
MPD has also created a Chief Equity Officer role and is currently hiring for this position. The Chief Equity Officer will serve as the Department’s equity strategist responsible for guiding efforts and creating opportunities to define, assess, and promote diversity and inclusion initiatives within and across all MPD offices, bureaus, and divisions.
Approximately 150 law enforcement agencies across the country have signed the 30x30 pledge. By signing, MPD agrees to take all measures to increase the representation of women in all ranks of law enforcement, ensure that our policies and procedures are free of bias, promote equitable hiring, retention, and promotions, and ensure that our culture is inclusive and supportive of all women.
Women interested in learning more and joining the Metropolitan Police Department can visit joinmpd.dc.gov.