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St. Paul Police Department takes 30x30 pledge to increase number of women officers

The department is looking to have 30 percent of its force be female officers by the year 2030.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Picture day at the Capitol is a whole lot bluer when it involves the St. Paul Police Department. Early Tuesday morning, the 80+ female officers who work at the department gathered outside on the Capitol steps to take a relatively rare photo.

"It's an exciting day we're making history," Deputy Chief Pamela Barragan said. "The last picture of all the sworn females about ten years ago."

It's a once-in-a-while treat that celebrates and takes count of all the female officers who make up the force.

The department's demographics definitely look different than when Sgt. Lila Sturgeon started in 1993.

"We definitely did not have the women that we do now back in the 90s," Sturgeon said. "I would say probably 10 to 15 women on our department if that? It was pretty narrow, and now we have definitely tripled, quadrupled that."

Currently, 15 percent of the force is female. Deputy Chief Barragan said they're aiming for 30 percent by 2030. St. Paul police is one of hundreds of police departments around the nation taking this pledge.

"There's a different sense when you have females represent you," Barragan said. She is a newly promoted deputy chief. "When you have representation they are more -- they can identify with you in different ways, you can have different kinds of conversations you might not be able to have."

It's a cycle of women uplifting women. Sturgeon said she and many others within the department actively mentor and recruit. She specifically works with Hamline University.

"It's really neat mentoring them because it just opens a whole new person in them and it brings a lot of courage to come out and do the job," she said.

Barragan said the focus ultimately is not on who wears the badge, but on what kind of heart lies underneath it.

"We cannot teach somebody to have a good heart, somebody that has a love for service, a respect for people, integrity," Barragan said. "Those are things that already are in your core. Those are the people we're looking to hire and recruit because that's what makes St. Paul a different police department."

If you are interested in finding out more about joining the St. Paul Police Department, you can find more information here.

The department is also hosting a women's seminar on September 23rd, 2023. You can find a link to that here. 

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