RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — Talk about promoting girl power in policing! The Radford University Police Department recently signed on to the 30×30 Pledge, which is a series of low-cost and no-cost actions that can help improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement.

School officials say the activities help policing agencies assess a department’s current state 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. More specifically, these actions address recruitment, assessment, hiring, retention, promotion and agency culture.

Radford University announced on Facebook on Thursday, July 7 that it is actually the first university in Virginia to sign the 30×30 Pledge.

The school says this pledge is the foundational effort of the 30×30 Initiative, a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations who have joined together to support the advancement and success of female officers in all ranks of policing across the country. The initiative is also affiliated with the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)

According to the university, the ultimate goal of the 30×30 Initiative is to reach 30% women in police recruit classes by 2030, as well as ensure policing agencies truly represent the community they serve.

For example, Radford University says it was founded as a women’s college and the majority of its student population is still female.

While 30×30 is focused on advancing women in policing, these principles reportedly apply to all kinds of demographic diversity, not just gender.

In fact, school officials say Radford University Police Chief Eric Plummer’s goal is 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 — ranging from major metropolitan departments like the New York 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, according to Radford University.

School officials tell WFXR News that women make up only 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership in the United States at this time. This underrepresentation of women in policing has significant public safety implications, especially when 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

“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. 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.”

For more information about the 30×30 Initiative, follow this link.