By: Maureen Linzaga and Zoha Jan
When John Brockie joined the Long Beach State Police department in August 2019, only two female officers were there. Now, there are six.
After being appointed chief of police in March 2022, Brockie aimed to further diversify the UPD via the 30 by 30 initiative, the department’s goal to have at least 30% of the force be female.
The 30 by 30 Initiative aims to increase women’s representation in police forces nationwide to 30% by 2030. The initiative seeks to establish communities, research, and support for female officers and their employment across police agencies in the United States.
According to the 30 by 30 Initiative, 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership are females in the country. In CSULB’s police department, there are 28% of females, according to demographic updated data provided by Brockie.
According to Beach Students at a Glance, there are 58.7% female, 41.1% male, and 0.2% nonbinary students in CSULB as of the spring 2023 semester.
The Office of Equity and Diversity, which focuses on preventing and managing discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in CSULB, also oversees diversity in different departments, including the UPD.
“In most ideal situations, we would love to have the employee population reflect the student population demographic,” Office of Equity and Diversity Assistant Vice President Larisa Hamada said.
Staff hiring abides by a Diversity Recruiting Toolkit, which contains an Equal Employment Opportunity statement about CSULB’s commitment to building a community with a diverse population with tolerance, civility and respect.
Hamada added that the equity office is always looking to make sure that CSULB police officers are from historically underrepresented backgrounds and that they have the training, sensitivity and personal experience with working with these groups.
The CSU has also been working to establish more substantial initiatives to build up female officer representation to build trust and transparency with students, added Hamada.
“Sometimes a student prefers to talk to a female detective or female officer, especially when it involves a traumatic incident involving something like intimate situations or intimate body parts, etc.,” Hamada said.
One of the issues Brockie faces while recruiting females is the low number of applicants.
“If we just open up a recruitment [and] say, ‘Hey, we’ve got openings,’ then it’ll be 20 men for every one woman that applies,” Brockie said.
Brockie and Almaguer try to reach out to various on and off-campus organizations, to recruit female officers for the department.
Yet, some students, like women and gender studies major Courtney Leon, have doubts that increasing female officers could have as much positive impact on women on campus as the 30 by 30 plan expects.
“If it [were] a thing of comfort, then I would say pull in people that are equipped professionals and confidential campus advocates in handling sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, sexual assault, advocacy and trauma-informed care who supports all those things,” Leon said. “Not a cop trained to police and arrest people.”
Another one of Brockie’s goals is to “match” the demographics of students by comparing it to UPD demographics and seeing what minority groups’ numbers could be reflected better.
“If I tried to match the faculty demographics, I wouldn’t be serving the students,” Brockie said. “If the [department] could match the student demographics exactly, that would be perfect.”
Recently the department has recruited two Asian officers to try to balance the demographic of students, Brockie said.
“We have officers that speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Indonesian [and] they’re certified translators,” Brockie said.
The hiring process can be challenging and some of the challenges Brockie faces while recruiting is the number of people interested in becoming a police officer has gone way down.
“My goal is just hiring quality officers that I think would fit in the department while they want to do this type of police work that is diverse, and, you know, the more diverse our hiring pool can be,” Brockie said.