Kearney Police Department joins national effort to recruit more women

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 9:05 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - With only 12% of women in law enforcement and only 3% in leadership roles across the country, 38 policing agencies in the U.S. have joined the 30x30 Initiative to help change this harsh reality. They pledge to increase the representation of women in recruit classes by 2030.

“With this initiative, we can show that there is a goal of inclusive, exclusivity,” Kearney Police Department Chief Bryan Waugh said. “There is a goal of being equal partner and we’re going to highlight the importance of women in policing.”

The Kearney Police Department joined this effort. Currently they only have three women total in their department, with only one of them having a leadership role.

“It’s partly on our shoulders to pivot towards a recruitment style that makes law enforcement more attractive to women,” Waugh said. “Primarily men are entering the profession, you know, whether they’re coming out of the military or coming out of the university system.”

They’re not sure why women aren’t applying. They do know interest in becoming a police officer has declined over the last 10 years.

Moving forward they plan to recruit through social media, colleges and job fairs. They also want to spread the message that law enforcement isn’t just for men.

“We want to highlight that Kearney is a great place to be,” Lt. Kevin Thompson said. “It’s a great place to practice law enforcement and be a professional but we’ve encouraged people, women especially wanting into the profession of law enforcement to apply with Kearney and other agencies as well. I think across the board it’s going to make us all better.”

Data shows female police officers are less likely to be involved in excessive force complaints. It’s also been proven they are better communicators to certain victims and demographics.

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