D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser pledged to hire hundreds of new police officers over the next several years and she says she wants as many of them as possible to be women.
Bowser took a boat ride with a woman harbor patrol officer Monday morning and surrounded herself with other women officers as she and D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee announced their plan to hire more women to police the nation's capitol.
"I am proud to say that at MPD we have over 23 percent of our sworn officers who are women and, thus far, exceed the national average," Contee said.
Contee signed a "30X30" pledge, which is a nationwide effort to have women make up 30% of recruit classes by the year 2030.
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He said staffing for the Metropolitan Police Department is at a 20-year low and more cops are desperately needed.
Bowser, who is running for reelection against two D.C. Council members who oppose hiring more officers, said she plans to include funding in her budget for hundreds more officers. The police department currently has about 3,500 officers.
"We want to get to 4,000. We won't be able to do it in a single year," Bowser said.
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But as they plan to hire more women officers, a group of former and current Black women officers have filed suit against the department over allegations of discrimination.
Assistant Chief Chanel Dickerson is among those suing the department. She said at the mayor's news conference that despite her experiences of discrimination, she would still recommend young women to join MPD.
"Oh, absolutely. The Metropolitan Police Department cadet program and MPD changed my life. I will be forever grateful. It took me from a path of hopelessness to resilience," Dickerson said. "I serve this community with grit and grace and compassion and empathy. So, I support the 30 by 30 initiative. Women are needed in this profession to help it evolve."