The Mesa Police Department is working to get more women in uniform.

MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Mesa Police Department has signed on to the 30x30 pledge to fill their recruiting classes with 30% women by the year 2030. The 30x30 initiative was recently launched in connection with the New York University School of Law's Policing Project.

Assistant Chief Dan Butler says the department has been "diligent" about building a PD that looks more like the community it serves. He says 14% of Mesa Police officers are women. That figure puts the agency ahead of national statistics that show women account for 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership.

"Fifty percent of our hires since 2014 have been women and minority candidates," says Butler.

The 30x30 initiative is a coalition of police leaders and researchers aimed at boosting female representation in policing. The initiative cites research showing women officers use less force, less excessive force, and are named in fewer complaints and lawsuits.

In recent years, Mesa police have been at the center of several high-profile use of force cases.

"We have always been an organization that is striving to get better," says Butler.

The initiative also cites research that says community members perceive women officers as being more honest and compassionate and that women officers can improve outcomes for crime victims especially when investigating sexual assaults.

Mesa Police Detective Brandi George says women bring unique qualities to the force. She's been honored three times for saving a life on the job. "We got a call that somebody wasn't breathing in there, and I got there and nobody else was there but the person who had overdosed," says George as she recalls one of the incidents. "I did CPR on that person until fire came and it seemed like a very very long time. The person ended up making it."

The 30x30 initiative also has research that shows women can improve outcomes for crime victims especially when investigating sexual assault cases. "We hear male officers on the radio asking for female offices to come to their call," says George. "Sometimes we're available to do that, sometimes we're not."

George, who got interested in law enforcement while volunteering for Casa Grande police, says the job is not always fun, but it can be rewarding. "I thought if I can get involved and make a difference in some way then why not?" says George.

According to the 30x30 website, the Tucson Police Department and Queen Creek Police Department have also taken the pledge.

 

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