SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department is struggling to both hire and retain female officers. The goal of the department is to have women make up at least 30% of its sworn personnel by the year 2030. It’s part of the 30 by 30 Initiative.
At this point, Chief Diaz said they have about 151 female officers of its 950.
In efforts to reach that goal, Diaz said he ordered a report that focused on interviewing women in the department on the culture at SPD and whether they felt respected. The results were disturbing but Diaz said he wasn’t surprised by what was in the nearly 20-page document.
“I wish I could say I’m shocked but I’m not,” Diaz said. “We should all be surprised by it but I’m not, I’m not because looking at the policing profession, it has been a male-dominated profession.”
KIRO 7 pulled some of the quotes from the report.
“So I had somebody I was in a car with, essentially start asking me, like why are you single? So I kind of shut down,” one woman said.
In another case, a woman said, “I was in grad school and I had a sergeant tell me I look ‘yummy’ in front of a bunch of officers.”
Diaz said the important step now is what they do with this information moving forward to make lasting change. He said now they have a work group that is being led out of their HR department that is coming up with a DEI plan that includes hiring practices, promotions, and workplace environment.
However, it’s not just what’s in the report, the department is dealing with. SPD is facing at least two lawsuits related to gender discrimination. One of the suits is being brought by Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin, who is suing over allegations of racial and gender discrimination.
“I look at Detective Cookie and her work she’s done fantastic work throughout her career and everyone in the community knows her,” Diaz said.
The other suit is being brought by Captain Deanna Nollette, who is suing the department and Diaz himself, alleging a history of misogyny.
“When it comes to history of misogyny, I’m curious to see what those reports are on me because there’s never been any complaints because I have never done that,” Diaz said. “And that’s where the truth will come out.”
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