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LPD joins national initiative to increase representation of women in recruit classes
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LPD joins national initiative to increase representation of women in recruit classes

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The Lincoln Police Department has signed onto a national 30X30 initiative with a goal of increasing the representation of women in police recruit classes to 30% by 2030.

"Recruitment has always been one of LPD's top priorities. It has also been one of our biggest challenges," Acting Chief Brian Jackson said Thursday. "We want our police department to represent the diversity of our community."

Acting Assistant Police Chief Michon Morrow, who is spearheading the project, said women currently account for 17% of the department, including leadership roles. And following its Hire Calling ad campaign, 42% of its current recruit class are women, she said. 

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Nationally, 12% of sworn police officers are women, and they make up less than 3% of police leadership in the U.S., according to the Policing Project by NYU School of Law.

Morrow said the pledge involves a series of "low- and no-cost actions" to improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement. But the principles can apply to all demographic diversity, she said. 

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Morrow said researchers and experts will analyze the department's current recruitment and retention policies and procedures to see where they can make improvements. 

The steps address recruitment, assessment, hiring, retention, promotion and agency culture and will help LPD assess any gender equity issues, identify factors that may be driving any disparities and develop strategies to eliminate barriers and advance women in policing.

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Morrow said social science research indicates that a greater number of women in law enforcement may lead to better outcomes for the community. 

She said research suggests that women in law enforcement use less excessive force, have fewer complaints and are named in fewer lawsuits, are perceived by communities as being more compassionate and see better outcomes for sexual assault victims.

“By signing this pledge, the Lincoln Police Department renews its commitment to actively working toward improving the representation and experiences of women officers in our agency. We look forward to working with and learning from agencies across the country who share this priority,” Morrow said.

LPD is one of only 36 police departments in the country that have signed the pledge so far, she said.

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In a statement, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said the 30x30 initiative further demonstrates the city's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

"As we have engaged the public in our search for the next chief of police, we have heard the desire of our residents to have the police force reflect the diversity of our community. I am committed to providing the resources needed to enhance our ability to attract and retain female officers to help achieve this goal," she said.

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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