Woke Nebraska police chief vows to hire more women to ‘get the toxic masculinity out of policing’
A reformist Nebraska police chief has recruited female officers — including black and Hispanic women — in an effort to rid the police of “toxic masculinity” amid a national reckoning of police brutality and calls by progressive leaders to punish law enforcement.
But Bellevue Police Chief Ken Clary’s efforts to hire more women in the state’s third most populous city of 53,000 have not won everyone’s favor. more attractive to female recruits.
Clary spoke to The Washington Post on his approach to a more inclusive police force, saying, “If you don’t mean to recruit everyone and show everyone that they can be successful here, you’re deliberately excluding people.”
Clary, a retired Iowa State trooper currently working on his PhD in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Nebraska Omaha, was the first police chief to join the 30×30 Initiative: a coalition of police leaders, researchers and professional organizations that see it as their goal to increase the number of women in police recruiting classes to 30 percent by 2030.
So far, nearly 150 law enforcement agencies have delivered on the 30×30 pledge, including police forces in the nation’s largest cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Philadelphia, which have seen crime rates soar over the past two years.
Currently, women make up only 12 percent of sworn officers and 3 percent of senior executives in the US.
Reformer Bellevue, Nebraska, Police Chief Ken Clary has recruited female officers to rid police of ‘toxic masculinity’ and reduce the use of force
Agent Crystal Kenny, 32, joined the Bellevue, Nebraska Police Department in December 2020. The division under Chief Clary has nearly quadrupled the number of female officers.
Three female Bellevue police officers laugh after responding to a call together. From left to right are Jess Manning, Pam Volk and Crystal Kenny. More than half of recent recruits to the force are women
Over the past year, Clary has conducted a recruiting campaign, adding more than a dozen female officers to his 103-person division.
Agent Karen Wrigley, 35, joined Clary’s department after being inspired as a teenager by the 2000 film Miss Congeniality to pursue a career in law enforcement. She has shown great patience towards suspected perpetrators and is known to sit down and even cry with both victims and suspects.
“It’s common for me to go to a call and talk to someone for over an hour,” Wrigley told The Post, adding that recruits don’t get that kind of training in the police academy, where a lot of the emphasis is still on the police. use of force by the police.
Wrigley’s colleague Brandy Valdez is a former ballet dancer and maid who became a police officer after a divorce; her strongest point is working with victims of sexual violence.
Agent Jess Manning, 33, right, talks to Agent Crystal Kenny, 32, as they look up information on the computer during a phone call. Chief Clary believes female officers are less likely to use violence to resolve conflict
The Bellevue PD held a physical fitness test for recruits at the University of Nebraska Omaha on Feb. 5, 2022. Anastasia Schrader, 31, from Bellevue was the only woman to turn up. She tested well and is very determined to be part of the department. Agent Manning, left, counts Schrader’s push-ups and encourages her
Also among the 15 women currently serving in the Bellevue Police Force are Chatelle Ogea, a former social worker and Army reservist, and Crystal Kenny, 32, who previously worked in a county jail and has a brother in prison.
The idea is to reduce the likelihood of police misconduct, instances of violence by officers and the number of lawsuits and complaints filed by having more female officers, who are nearly 30 percent less likely to use violence, according to a recent report. research. study.
Clary has tried to convince other top Midwestern police officers to broaden the net in recruiting officers by rethinking certain policies, including requiring applicants to have good credit, which he says could be a hurdle for people of color from across the country. low-income families.
Since Clary took over the department in September 2020, Clary has lifted a rule that prohibits officers from taking medical leave twice in two years, which could affect women with consecutive pregnancies. He also ended the bench press requirement to join the SWAT team and lifted a ban on dyed hair and multiple ear piercings.
But Clary’s form of reform was met with resistance from many law enforcement officers in the region, who accused him of lowering standards.
The Bellevue Police Department is participating in the 30×30 initiative, which aims to increase the number of women in police recruiting classes to 30 percent by 2030.
Agent Crystal Kenny, 32, kisses one of her dogs during her lunch break. Next to her is her mother, Pam Kenny, who lives with her. Kenny started Bellevue PD in 2020 having previously worked in the county jail
Agent Brandy Valdez, 35, a former ballet dancer and maid, works on her shift from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM on Saturday nights. She is taking notes after taking a field sobriety test on a woman who was arrested for drunk driving and resisted arrest. Officers, Matt Vetter, left and Andrew Jansen were also on site
Clary says to that colleague: ‘We’re not lowering the bar. We think differently about the standard. We invite people who didn’t believe there was a path.’
Clary’s controversial approach to policing comes amid rising crime rates in places like New York City, where spikes in rapes, assaults, robberies, hate crimes and other types of crime have been observed, rising 45 percent overall on March 27, compared to last year. around the same time.
Clary was sworn in as Police Chief in Bellevue on September 1, 2020, after serving 26 years in various capacities with the Iowa State Patrol
A 2021 study found that female officers made 7 percent fewer arrests than male officers and 28 percent less violence at work, especially involving black people.
Additional research has found that female police officers are more likely to create a perception of fairness, are better at carrying out traffic stops and investigating sexual and domestic violence. At the same time, they are less likely to fire their weapons on the job, use excessive force and be mentioned in lawsuits and complaints.
However, there is a competing body of research showing that there are only minor differences between male and female officers in violent incidents.
Clary was sworn in as a police chief in Bellevue on September 1, 2020, after serving 26 years in various capacities with the Iowa State Patrol.
Clary received his Masters in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University and is currently a PhD candidate in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
He was selected as a Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science Scholar by the National Institute of Justice. He also graduated from the FBI National Academy, completed the International Association of Chiefs of Police – Leadership in Police Organizations, and Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command.
He is currently an Executive Fellow for the National Police Foundation, was inducted into the Center for Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame in 2019, and received the IACP J. Stannard Baker Lifetime Achievement Award for Highway Safety.