Dane Co. law enforcement agencies commit to hiring 30% sworn female officers by 2030

MADISON, Wis. — As part of his final efforts as Dane County Sheriff, Dave Mahoney is paving the way for several other law enforcement agencies to join the nationwide 30×30 initiative.

The initiative attempts to advance the representation of women in law enforcement. According to research presented on the 30×30 website, women make up only 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership in the U.S. The website also cites research showing that women are less likely to use excessive force, are named in fewer complaints and lawsuits, are perceived by communities as being more compassionate and honest, make fewer arrests (especially when it comes to communities of color) and see better outcomes for crime victims (particularly in sexual assault cases).

“As we’ve seen incidents occurring in the country over the last year, law enforcement needs to make this a priority nationwide,” Mahoney said.

According to the Dane County Sheriff, women currently make up 23% of the DCSO. Mahoney said reaching 30% by 2030 “is an achievable goal.”

Several other law enforcement agencies have committed to the initiative as well, including the University of Wisconsin Police Department. UWPD Chief Kristen Roman is the only female police chief in Dane County. Roman said she is excited to see more women rise in the rankings.

“Getting more women into the profession is something our department has been committed to for quite some time,” Roman said. “At UWPD, we have about 35% of our ranking officers, sergeant and above all the way to Chief of Police are women.”

The Madison Police Department is also committed to the 30×30 initiative. MPD Captain Jennifer Krueger Favour will be responsible for the hiring process.

“We are actually already at 28% women which is more than double the national average,” Krueger Favour said.

Mahoney said with what we’ve seen escalate nationwide over the past year with the demise of the relationship between law enforcement and members of the community, women should have a greater role in police departments.

“Often times, [women are] more prone to mediate or deescalate rather than go hands on in incidents,” Mahoney said. “They are more prone to take time to have a conversation, to deescalate a situation.”

Roman agreed with Mahoney, saying, “Women in this profession really make a difference for the better. To be able to create opportunities for women entering the profession and looking at opportunities for them to grow and assume positions of leadership, means, like anything, they have to be able to see role models in place in many ways to see what’s possible. I think that can only translate into better relationships with our community and I’m hopeful for what the future holds.”

Several other police departments have also expressed interest in joining but have not officially signed on. Those include Middleton, Sun Prairie and Fitchburg.

Sun Prairie Lieutenant Ryan Cox said, “The Sun Prairie Police Department is still evaluating the 30×30 program, however, we absolutely support the goal of increasing recruitment amongst women to become police officers.”

Mahoney said although the representation of women in law enforcement looks better today than it did decades ago,” We shouldn’t stop where we are at today. We need to be even more representative.”