St. Paul police working to at least double number of female officers by 2030 |

St. Paul police working to at least double number of female officers by 2030

Josh Skluzacek & Crystal Bui
Updated: April 09, 2021 06:24 PM
Created: April 09, 2021 09:53 AM

The St. Paul Police Department has joined a nationwide initiative to recruit more women into the law enforcement profession.

Friday, the department became the first law enforcement agency in Minnesota to join the 30x30 Initiative, which commits to a series of low-cost or no-cost activities designed to improve the representation and experiences of women in the St. Paul Police Department.

SPPD said women currently make up about 12% of sworn police officers and less than 3% of police leadership in the U.S. The goal of the initiative is to recruit classes that are at least 30% female by 2030 while ensuring policies and culture intentionally support the success of women throughout their careers.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said research shows women officers are trusted by their communities, have high levels of interpersonal communication skills and bring a calming effect to dangerous and high-stress situations.

"Studies demonstrate that communities and police departments benefit from having more female police officers," Axtell said. "Unfortunately, there are barriers that prevent women from pursuing careers in law enforcement. We're looking forward to incorporating the 30x30 activities into our current recruitment efforts, breaking through those barriers and doubling (at least) the number of women serving the city of St. Paul as officers."

The department added that Deputy Chief Julie Maidment will also lead an effort to assess its gender equity, identify factors that may be driving disparities and implement solutions to eliminate barriers and advance women in policing.

“Traditionally this has been a very male-dominated profession. I think some of us doubt our own skills. I came in this profession — I probably doubted myself too being small stature. But you push through and you get through the academy and you realize you actually have the skills. And you have strong female partners to support you,” said Maidment, who has been on the force for 25 years.

Out of roughly 600 sworn officers in the St. Paul Police Department, 17% are women. And 20% of leadership positions in the department are held by a woman.

Maidment says the department will only continue to see female officers' value as that proportion changes.

“We need females in this profession. We need females to respond to calls in the city. We are part of the community and we can do a very good job at this,” said Maidment. 

She says there are sensitive incidents every day where a female officer could bring immense value – such as domestic violence and sexual assault. 

“When women come to a scene, we have these skills. Especially since you're a woman talking to me, you might feel more comfortable talking to me. We have special skills in communicating with each other,” Maidment said. 

Maidment wants to reassure all potential applicants that anything is possible to achieve in the law enforcement career. 

“It is a very male-dominated field, but the partners out there, the male partners out there are outstanding. Any of us can do this job. And there is a great support system in which we can do it,” she said. 

Over 35 agencies across the country have signed the 30x30 pledge so far.

"We are grateful to the St. Paul Police Department for being one of the first in the nation to commit to being a part of this growing movement," said Maureen McGough, co-founder of the 30x30 Initiative. "We believe strongly that advancing women in policing is critical to improving public safety outcomes. We look forward to having more agencies follow the SPPD's lead by signing the pledge and improving the representation and experiences of women in policing."

The St. Paul Police Department is accepting applications online.

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