Iowa DPS seeks to increase women in policing

Iowa Department of Public Safety

The Iowa Department of Public Safety has joined policing agencies across the country who are committed to implementing strategies and actions designed to increase the representation of women in law enforcement.  

The 30x30 Initiative is a national effort developed to improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement by addressing recruitment, assessment, hiring, retention, promotion, and agency culture. 

The ultimate goal of the 30x30 Initiative is to have women represent 30 percent of our recruit classes by 2030, and to ensure policing agencies are representative of the jurisdictions they serve.  

The 30x30 Initiative is a collaborative effort between police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations across the United States.  The 30x30 Initiative is affiliated with the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE). 

“We are working to increase the representation and advance the experiences of our female officers to better reflect the communities we serve,” said Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens. 

“We are committed to encouraging women to seek a career where they can truly protect and serve their communities and to provide an environment that will ensure they flourish personally and professionally,” said Bayens.

The number of DPS female sworn officers is beginning to increase following efforts to reach women through social media channels, targeted digital messaging, and intentional outreach activities on college campuses. Today, women make up 6.4 percent of the department’s sworn workforce. 

The 45th DPS Basic Academy class, currently in training, started with 15 percent female recruit enrollment. Women also made up 16 percent of the recent qualified applicant pool for the Department’s upcoming Certified Academy (prior certified officers).  

Added Department of Public Safety Director of the Division of Professional Development and Support Services, Charis Paulson, “We are working to develop Iowa-based research to assist us in our planning and recruiting efforts to help identify opportunities and barriers for all applicants, but especially with females. We are committed to recruiting women and fostering a culture that embraces the unique skillset and diversity they will bring to our department.”

More than 35 agencies–from major metro departments, to mid-sized, rural, university and state policing agencies–have committed to the understanding that a greater representation of women in law enforcement leads to better policing outcomes for communities.

“We are grateful to the Iowa Department of Public Safety 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, chief of staff of the Policing Project at the New York University School of Law, and former policing expert at the U.S. Department of Justice. 

“We believe strongly that advancing women in policing is critical to improving public safety outcomes. We look forward to having more agencies follow the DPS lead by signing the pledge and improving the representation and experiences of women in policing,” said McGough.

For more information, visit www.30x30initiative.org.  

The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes six divisions and several bureaus, all working together with local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to keep Iowa a safe place by following our core values: leadership, integrity, professionalism, courtesy, service and protection. 

Divisions within the Iowa DPS: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, and Administrative Services Division. 

The Department of Public Safety is led by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.