By ANDREW TERRY
In America, women make up less than 13% of full-time police officers according to research by Stateline published in 2021, and in Texas, 11.5% of licensed peace officers are women according to a Reporting Texas analysis. In 2020 in the city of Amarillo police department’s staff of 313 people, 28 of them were women.
The amount of women in college police departments across the country is higher than the national average for all departments at 16%, according to the most recent study of campus law enforcement demographics by the Bureau of Justice statistics during the 2011-2012 school year.
The Amarillo College police department currently has one female officer who works at East Campus, but they did have a female chief of police from 2018 to 2020. According to Morice Jackson, ACPD community relations officer, the current chief of ACPD has been trying to recruit more female officers but has found difficulty in hiring and retaining them.
“When female officers come on campus and they see exactly what we do, especially if they’re a lot younger, they want a little bit more excitement, so it’s kind of hard to retain female officers that want to be here, because it’s a different type of policing,” Jackson said. Jackson added that “part of the duty of a college police officer is to educate students, staff and faculty about the law, and at the same time provide a safe, healthy environment.”
Some students think that the lack of female officers on campus is a problem. “AC preaches about diversity and inclusion, but it doesn’t matter. There need to be female officers on campus,” Aliyah Chandler, a psychology major, said.
“I think the lack of women in any field is problematic,” said Harper Adams, a general studies major.
Other students say they aren’t that concerned about the absence of female officers. “I think having female officers on campus would be inspiring, but I do think that the officers we have at the moment are able to fulfill their positions just fine,” Jaydin Jones, a nursing major, said.
“I can say it’s a little disheartening to see the lack of female officers, but on the other hand they just aren’t as physically capable, so it’s annoying but understandable,” Kamden Slough, a graphic design major, said.
Some groups are trying to push for more women in policing, like the 30×30 Initiative, an organization that has a goal to increase the amount of women in police recruit classes to 30% by 2030. The organization says, “The 30×30 Initiative is based on the importance of achieving at least 30% representation to empower a group to influence an organization’s culture.”
“One of several challenges I faced when I first began my career in my early twenties was feeling scrutinized at times by my male colleagues. I felt the need to prove I could do the job mentally and physically just like them,” Sharon Yoon, a
detective in the San Diego police department, told the 30×30 Initiative.
Major city police departments like the Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth police departments have joined the initiative, as well as university and college departments, but the city of Amarillo department and ACPD are not currently members.