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Jacksonville Police Department vows to recruit more female officers

The Jacksonville Police Department signed onto the 30x30 pledge on Wednesday, with the goal being to reach 30% of women in their recruiting classes by 2030.

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — A nationwide initiative is turning the focus on representation in law enforcement, specifically geared towards recruiting more women to become police officers. 

According to Jacksonville Police Chief Brett Hibbs, the department signed onto the 30x30 Pledge on Wednesday-- a pledge that vows to reach 30% of women in their police recruiting classes by 2030, according to Jacksonville Police Chief Brett Hibbs.

"Part of our mission is to be more diverse and inclusive for everybody and to represent the community that we serve," he said.

This initiative is a movement aimed to advance women in law enforcement. 

A movement, that Hibbs, stands strongly behind.

"Women offer many benefits in law enforcement. Studies show that they use force less, there's a reduction in force, they communicate better, de-escalation is better," he said.

That's just the beginning of a long list that shows the impact that comes from women wearing a badge. 

According to Hibbs, nationally women make up 12% of law enforcement, but his force already has that number doubled.

"We're going to continue recruiting in many different areas, not just women, but really what it's going to center around is our community. We want to picture our community," he said.

That community representation means everything for many at the department, like Detective Sierra Lee.

"Our police department doesn't need to be staffed by one specific race, one specific gender. It needs to be diverse just like our community is so that we can adapt to the citizens needs and whatever situation comes," she said.

The pledge that the Jacksonville Police Department took is something that Sgt. Quatiesha Otey believes will have a long-lasting impact, for not only the future of the police force but also the community. 

"I feel like by 2030, that 30% of women, I think that's going to change the culture of law enforcement," she said.

It's a change that both Lee and Otey hope inspires the younger generation to take the oath to protect their community.

"I think about my niece. She's 6 and she says that all the time if it wasn't for me and her seeing how I am as a law enforcement officer, she wouldn't say that, 'I want to be a police officer,'" Otey said.

"My role model when I decided I want to be a police officer, she is actually also a police officer. So to do that for another little girl, little boy, anybody. It's heartwarming," Lee said.

Jacksonville Police Department is one of more than 100 agencies to take this pledge. 

If you are interested in becoming an officer with Jacksonville, you can call the police department at (501) 982-3191 or go here.

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