On Wednesday, U.S. Reps. Deborah Ross (D-N.C. 2nd) and Rep. Valerie Foushee (D-N.C. 4th) introduced the Supporting Women with Career Opportunities in Policing Services Act at the Historic Durham County Courthouse.
The new program is meant to increase female involvement in law enforcement in the United States.
If passed, the act will establish a federal task force that will release a report with recommendations on how U.S. police departments can hire and retain women and see them advance to leadership positions, Ross said at the event.
She explained that if states were to implement changes based on that report, they would receive a 5 percent increase per year in federal funding.
In addition to encouraging states to increase female engagement in law enforcement, the act aims to incentivize women to consider careers in policing. Foushee said the act, if enacted, will also help revise biased hiring practices.
N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein and four female police chiefs from the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Zebulon Police Departments joined Ross and Foushee on the courthouse steps during the announcement.
“The Supporting Women COPS Act is about more than just ensuring that women have a seat at the table,” Ross said. “It's about giving law enforcement officers the resources and the support they need to do their jobs, ensuring our citizens have confidence and faith in their elected officials who are sworn to protect them.”
Women only account for 12 percent of the country’s full-time police officers, Ross said. She said these numbers have remained largely unchanged for over two decades.
Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews said Durham leads local departments in proportion of female officers — women make up 17 percent of its police department.