San Jose police sets goal of 30% women officers by 2030

As part of Women’s History Month, San Jose leaders gathered Thursday at police headquarters. The city’s vice mayor, mayor, city manager and police chief, all signed the 30 x 30 Pledge.

"To increase women recruits by 30% by 2030," said Police Chief Anthony Mata.

According to Mata, 13% of his 1,071 officers are women. That equals about 140 officers. By the end of the decade, the goal is to increase that number to roughly 321.

"We believe that every individual, regardless of gender, should have equal opportunities to serve their communities," said San Jose Vice Mayor Rosemary Kamei.

Officials are targeting young women who are being courted by multiple industries. Third-year officer Katalina Torres is on a circuitous route to wearing a badge.

"I always wanted to be a police officer while I was growing up," she said.

But in college, she pursued a career working in a healthcare-related field. It wasn’t until she had landed a job as an EMT that she decided to follow her inner voice and apply to the SJPD.

"I felt like there’d be a lot of opportunities for me to have a lot of different experiences. Whether it's calls for services or people that I meet," said Torres.

The testosterone-rich policing culture is getting a remake nationwide. Other municipalities are taking the 30 x 30 Pledge. Some experts say women can outpace men in some aspects of the job.

"We tend to talk our way out of situations, rather than using force…we use our verbal skills, so that’s incredibly important," said Capt. Gina Tibaldi, commander of the SJPD’s Central Division. 

Added Professor Greg Woods, a lecturer in the San Jose State Department of Justice Studies, "That gives us an alternative to our current approach and will hopefully increase our opportunity for greater safety and security."

Officials conceded recruitment, retention and upcoming retirements will make meeting the 30 x 30 goal challenging. Still, Mayor Matt Mahan D-San Jose, said he believes the country’s "hub of innovation" will find a way.

"We have a huge opportunity to make the career of law enforcement more accessible and desirable for female recruits while making San Jose safe," said Mahan.

The department has increased community outreach to women and offers women’s career days and mentoring programs. These steps are all designed to recruit, retain, and promote women.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv