In June 2022, the Radford University Police Department signed on to the 30×30 Pledge, a series of low- and no-cost actions policing agencies can take to improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement.
The activities help policing agencies assess the current state of a department 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 pledge is the foundational effort of the 30×30 Initiative, a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations that have joined together to advance the representation and experiences of women in all ranks of policing across the United States.
The ultimate goal of the 30×30 Initiative is to reach 30% women in police recruit classes by 2030 and to ensure policing agencies are truly representative of the jurisdiction the agency serves. Radford University was founded as a women’s college and has a majority female student population.
While 30×30 is focused on advancing women in policing, these principles are applicable to all demographic diversity, not just gender. It is a goal of Radford University Chief of Police Eric Plummer to provide increased opportunities to all members of the department.
“This pledge means that the Radford University Police Department is actively working toward improving the recruitment, representation and experiences of women officers in our agency,” Plummer said. “We are honored to be among the first in the nation and the first university police department in Virginia to make this critical commitment, and we look forward to working with and learning from agencies across the country who share our priority.”
More than 175 agencies – from major metro departments like the New York City Police Department to mid-sized, rural, university and state policing agencies – have signed the 30×30 Pledge, which is based on social science research findings that greater representation of women in police forces leads to better policing outcomes for communities.
Currently, women make up only 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership in the United States. This underrepresentation of women in policing has significant public safety implications. 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; and see better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases.
“We are grateful to the Radford University Police Department for being one of the first in the nation to commit to being a part of this growing movement,” said 30×30 co-founder Maureen McGough, 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,” McGough said. “We look forward to having more agencies follow Radford University Police Department’s lead by signing the pledge and improving the representation and experiences of women in policing.”