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Oswego taking part in initiative to increase number of women on its police force

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Provided photo
Oswego Mayor Bill Barlow, center, with the city police department's six female officers. Barlow hopes to increase the number of female officers in the department by 30% by 2030

The city of Oswego wants to see about 30% of its police recruit classes made up of women by the year 2030.

Right now there are six female officers on the Oswego Police Department, out of a total of 48. Mayor Billy Barlow hopes that changes following the department’s participation in the 30 x 30 Initiative. This nationwide coalition of police agencies, researchers, and professional organizations has devised a pledge to improve the number of women in law enforcement.

Barlow said research shows a greater representation of women on police forces leads to better policing outcomes.

"For certain crimes and certain situations, particularly in domestic violence cases, I think it’s helpful to have a woman police officer respond there,” Barlow said. “I also think for mental health cases, and we’re seeing a rise in those in the community, I think women come off as more honest and compassionate and trustworthy, and in those cases it can help."

Barlow said the police department will go into the community with a presentation specifically geared to potential female recruits.

“They’ll set it up at events like the farmers market or SUNY Oswego, and also that we can take to various groups and organizations that cater more towards women,” he said. “And we can have our current female police officers make the pitch to potential candidates who may be interested in a career in law enforcement and criminal justice.”

Barlow said this initiative is part of the city’s police re-imagining plan. Another offshoot of the plan will begin soon as well. A drug task force working out of the city police department will start focusing on combatting drugs and crime, and work with a local drug rehabilitation agency on drug cases. Barlow said Oswego has been facing more issues with heroin and the synthetic drug Molly recently.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.