DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has pledged to hire hundreds of new police officers over the next few years and she says she wants as many of them as possible to be women.
Bowser took a boat ride with a female Harbor Patrol officer on Monday morning and surrounded herself with other female officers as she and DC Police Chief Robert Contee announced plans to hire more women to watch over the nation’s capital.
“I’m proud to say that at MPD we have over 23% of our sworn officers who are women and so far they are above the national average,” Contee said.
Contee signed a “30X30” pledge, which is a national effort to have women make up 30% of the recruit classes by 2030.
He said the Metropolitan Police Department’s manpower was at its lowest in 20 years and more cops were desperately needed.
Bowser, who is running for re-election against two DC Council members who oppose hiring more officers, said she plans to include funding for hundreds more officers in her budget. The police department currently has approximately 3,500 officers.
“We want to get to 4,000. We can’t do it in one year,” Bowser said.
But as they plan to hire more female officers, a group of former and current black female officers have filed suit against the department over allegations of discrimination.
Deputy Chief Chanel Dickerson is among those suing the department. She told the mayor’s press conference that despite her experiences of discrimination, she would always recommend young women to join the MPD.
“Oh, absolutely. The Metropolitan Police Department Cadet Program and the MPD have changed my life. I will be forever grateful. It took me from a path of desperation to resilience,” Dickerson said. “I serve this community with courage, grace, compassion and empathy. I therefore support the 30 by 30 initiative. Women are needed in this profession to help it evolve.”