Columbia Police sign pledge to increase number of women in officer ranks

Chris Trainor
·2 min read

The Columbia Police Department has signed on to a national pledge to increase the number of women in its officer ranks and advance women in policing.

The department has joined with more than three dozen other law enforcement agencies across the nation in signing the 30x30 pledge, according to a news release. The goal of the national initiative is to have 30% women in police recruiting classes by 2030, and to make sure police departments are representative of the location they serve.

According to the 30x30 initiative website, women make up 12% of sworn police officers in the United States, and only about 3% of police leadership. Roughly 20% of Columbia’s roster of 351 city police officers are women, per department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons.

“Research shows women officers use less force and less excessive force; are named in fewer complaints and lawsuits; are perceived by communities as being more honest and compassionate; see better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases; and make fewer discretionary arrests,” the 30x30 website notes. The initiative is affiliated with the Policing Project at the NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives.

As of Tuesday, Columbia and Charleston were the only South Carolina departments listed as having signed on to the 30X30 initiative. Departments in a wide range of cities had taken the pledge, including New York City, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Baltimore, among others.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said the city department will work to move women officers up through the ranks at CPD.

“We recognize the value of gender equity and helping advance women in policing, especially in leadership roles,” the chief said in a release. “This effort is not a trend but rather an important part of our mission and vision.”