Iowa DPS backs initiative to increase representation of women in law enforcement

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SIOUX CITY (KCAU9) — The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced this week that they are backing a nationwide initiative targeting increased representation from women in law enforcement.

Currently, just 6.4% of Iowa’s DPS workforce is female, something they look to change in the future as they back the efforts of the “30×30” initiative.

The main purpose of this new nationwide program that’s affiliated with the Policing Project at New York University and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives is to have women represent 30% of recruit classes by 2030.

The Sioux City Police Department is currently above average nationally with 12.5% of officers being female. Lt. Judy Kellen has been a part of Sioux City PD for 25 years and she reflected on the importance of diversifying law enforcement.

“We’re very involved in the community and we will always continue to do so and be so, and I know that as our population changes, we’ll try to have our department reflect the changes in the community,” said Lt. Kellen.

Meanwhile at Western Iowa Tech, Police Science Coordinator Dave Drew said efforts are being made to attract more women to the occupation, and several female students are studying in the program now versus just one or two students many years ago.

“I think that stigma is gone, that glass ceiling has been broken by different agencies across the country. We have chiefs of police that are females, sheriffs that are females, well up into the administrations,” said Drew.

One student in particular spoke on what motivated her to get involved with law enforcement.

“I want to empower children of all races, empower young girls that all dreams are achievable, and I also want to help prevent recidivism from continuing to occur in my own community by serving my community.”

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