Department Aims to “Go Above and Beyond” in 30x30 Pledge Video
Durham residents may soon begin to see a police force that is more reflective of the community’s gender demographics now that the Durham Police Department has joined a national movement to recruit more women to its sworn ranks.
The department is among 140 policing agencies so far that have signed the 30x30 Pledge – setting a goal to increase the representation of women in police recruit classes to 30% by 2030. According to 30x30 organizers, women make up just 12% of sworn officers and only 3% of police leadership in the United States. The 30x30 Pledge is a research-based program that establishes hiring, retaining, and promoting of qualified women as a strategic priority.
“For several years, the Durham Police Department’s sworn female ranks have typically been above the national average,” said Police Chief Patrice Andrews. “When I signed the letter of intent to join the 30x30 Pledge movement in November 2021, 17% of our police officers were women. A number of best practices the 30x30 program advocates, the Durham Police Department already had in place. However, this department fully recognizes the value that qualified female officers, and candidates in other underrepresented groups, bring for improved public safety. We look forward to formally implementing the 30x30 Pledge as part our recruitment strategy.”
According to studies and anecdotal evidence referenced in a National Institute of Justice Report, aside from achieving gender equity among officers, there is a strong business case for advancing women in policing. Specific benefits cited are that women proportionally have fewer use-of-force and citizen complaints, and that women tend to be more effective in their interactions with diverse communities.
According to Chief Andrews, since March is Women’s History Month, it’s the ideal time for the department to launch its 30x30 Pledge participation in conjunction with recognizing the 50th anniversary of the first female officers to join Durham’s police force. In June 1972, Barbara Loftin and Phyllis Thorpe joined other male recruits in training to become police officers. Upon completion of their training in September 1972, Loftin and Thorpe joined the department’s sworn ranks and were assigned to the juvenile and community relations divisions.
Fast forward 50 years, and now three of the department’s four top executive posts are held by women, which includes Chief Andrews, Deputy Chief Shari Montgomery, and Deputy Chief Melissa Bishop.
To learn more about employment opportunities and hiring incentives with the department, visit the Recruiting & Employment webpage.
To learn about how the police department supports the City’s mission to provide quality services to make Durham a great place to live, work and play visit the Implement Crime and Community Policing Strategies webpage of the City of Durham FY 2022-23 Strategic Plan.