Published: April 13, 2021

Recently, the CU Boulder Police Department signed on to the 30x30 Initiative—a series of low- and no-cost actions police departments can take to improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement. The activities help police departments assess the current state of the 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.

CU Boulder Police Chief Doreen Jokerst takes her oath of service with Chancellor Phil DiStefano during a swearing-in ceremony in 2018

CU Boulder Police Chief Doreen Jokerst take her oath of service with Chancellor Phil DiStefano during a swearing-in ceremony on Oct. 25, 2018. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

The pledge is the foundational effort of the 30x30 Initiative—a coalition of police leaders, researchers and professional organizations who have joined together to advance the representation and experiences of women in all ranks of policing across the United States. The 30x30 Initiative is affiliated with the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE).

“I am so excited that CUPD is one of the police departments to join in on the 30x30 pledge,” said CUPD Commander and current NAWLEE President Paula Balafas. “We are just one of a few university police departments across the country who have signed the pledge, but we encourage all police departments to join us in this work.”

The ultimate goal of the 30x30 Initiative is to reach 30% of women in police recruit classes by 2030 and to ensure police agencies are truly representative of the jurisdiction the agency serves. While 30x30 is focused on advancing women in policing, these principles are applicable to all demographic diversity, not just gender. 

“This 30x30 pledge means we are actively working toward improving the representation and experiences of women officers in our agency,” said CUPD Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst. “The pledge aligns with our recruitment and retention plan that we announced in 2019. We are honored to be among the first in the nation 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 40 agencies—from major metro departments to rural, university and state police agencies—have signed the 30x30 pledge. The pledge is based on social science research that greater representation of women on police forces leads to better 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
  • See better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases

Currently, women make up 17% of the sworn officers at CUPD,” Jokerst said. “While that is above the national average, we would like to increase that percentage and be a leader among university police departments in advancing women in policing.”

For more information, visit the 30x30 Initiative website.