ISUPD joins a national initiative to advance women in law enforcement


Courtesy of ISUPD

ISUPD trains annually for active shooter events. During their January tra

Mackenzie Bodell, Senior Reporter

Despite already meeting the goals of the 30X30 initiative, Iowa State University Police Department said there is more work to be done. 

Nationally, only 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership are women. The goal of the 30X30 initiative is to increase the representation of women in law enforcement with the end goal of having 30% of staff be women by 2030. 

Research shows women officers use less force and are named in fewer complaints and lawsuits. Communities perceive them as being more honest and compassionate, leading to better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases, according to the 30X30 website

ISUPD has already achieved the 30X30 goal statistically. Women in the department currently make up 34% of sworn officers and 46% overall, including non-sworn officers. 

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have work to do right to help build a stronger culture that helps strengthen everyone in our organization,” said ISUPD Chief of Police Michael Newton. 

Engagement and inclusion officer, Natasha Greene, emphasizes that this initiative promotes diversity and inclusion for all genders. 

“I really appreciate that the initiative looks at how we are making sure our policies welcome all genders and are inclusive of all genders,” Greene said. 

The 30X30 initiative has two phases. The ISUPD signed the pledge in early March and is currently in phase one. 

Phase one occurs within the first six months of signing the pledge. During phase one, the department has to formally prioritize hiring and promoting qualified women. ISUPD focuses on setting its staff up for success, looking to improve and promote internally. 

“Our goal is going to be to make sure that our culture is aligned and provides an equitable opportunity for our women to advance,” ISUPD Assistant Chief Carrie Jacobs said. 

Phase one also includes making space available for nursing mothers who return after maternity leave. Everyone in the department is entitled to the Family Medical Leave Act so they can have up to 12 weeks. While the state is now looking at potentially paid maternity paternity leave, their union is pushing for that as well, Newton said.  

Phase two occurs within 12 to 24 months and involves the department answering questions about their demographics.

“It is in answering these questions and analyzing the data where we will be able to see where we need to focus as it relates to hiring, retaining and promoting women within the agency,” Jacobs said. 

ISUPD recognizes that there is more to this initiative than just the numbers. It is about getting all women into all ranks of the department and making them feel welcomed and included in the organization. 

“We’re trying to change the culture,” Newton said. “Twelve percent tells you that women don’t feel comfortable coming into this male-dominated world, and how do we change that?”

ISUPD has drawn women to the department because they started out with a higher population of women. Women are present throughout all the ranks of the department. 

“We’re obviously ahead of the game, and we stand out in that way,” officer Marissa Marshall said. “That’s what drew me here.”

Marshall has been with the department since August. She is finishing up her 16-week training this month. 

Captain Sara Jensen has been with the department for over 20 years, and diversity within the staff has always been emphasized. 

“When I was brought on board, the chief at the time was like, ‘Sara, we’re hiring you for you, you don’t have to prove yourself,’” Jensen said. “That spoke volumes at that time.”

ISUPD’s goal is to ensure the department reflects the community they serve. Jacobs said this means meeting specific goals as it relates to culture, gender equality and overall diversity.

“Sometimes we have victims of crimes that want to talk to somebody from the same background,” Newton said. “When you’re in the worst moment of your life, you want to talk to somebody who understands what you’re going through.” 

More information regarding the national initiative can be found on the 30X30 website

“The initiative is going to encourage more females to consider law enforcement and not shy away or think that they can’t do it,” officer Kaitlyn Boor said.