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Boynton Beach Police Department joins pledge to hire more women

'It would be wonderful to live in a world where everybody can see themselves here,' deputy chief says
Posted at 11:24 AM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 14:26:01-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A national pledge is asking police departments to hire more women. Boynton Beach Police is one of two Florida departments that took the 30x30 pledge this year.

30x30's goal is to have 30% of police recruitment classes be women by 2030.

"It's huge," Deputy Chief Vanessa Snow said.

She said Boynton Beach police have been working to hire more women for years, so this pledge was a natural step to take.

"This is the type of agency that we want other women around the country looking at saying, 'Wow, I see myself working there,'" Snow added.

Snow and four other women in the department sat down with WPTV to talk about how the pledge can help law enforcement.

According to the 30x30 website, women make up about 12% of police departments, with only 3% being in leadership roles.

"I would love to see more for sure, but if we could just get the 30% to start off, I think that's great," Sgt. Gladys Cannon said.

Cannon said it is flustering to need a pledge like 30x30 to get more women into law enforcement, and she would like to see a day where it is a standard for there to be an equal number of women and men officers.

Deputy Chief Vanessa Snow and 4 other Boynton Beach police officers sit
Boynton Beach Police Department Deputy Chief Vanessa Snow (center) sits with four other female police officers to discuss the impact of women in law enforcement.

Reports suggest that women in policing use less force and are seen as more honest and compassionate.

"I've always tried to solve crimes as if, like, the victim was my family," Detective Danielle Whitefield said. "Coming from the detective side, when you are dealing with young children and victims of sexual abuse, sometimes they don't feel comfortable opening up to a male."

Whitefield said the pledge is not about women being better officers than men, but it is about better representation in departments. Sgt. Christine Naulty said the perception around female officers is changing.

"It's kind of validating that, you know, this is a position that we belong, that we can do the job just as well," Naulty said.

Officer Cynthia Rivera was hired 13 years ago and said she has seen changes in the department, including initiatives like the 30x30 pledge.

"I jumped that 6-foot wall in that academy just like them," Officer Cynthia Rivera said of her male counterparts.

Snow said she hopes Boynton Beach police can set the example for others.

"It would be wonderful to live in a world where everybody can see themselves here," she said.

The 30x30 pledge has 114 departments pledged to hire more women. The Boynton Beach and Miami police departments are the only two in Florida to have pledged so far.