A renewed initiative to increase diversity when recruiting police officers and other UPPS employees is underway and being led by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director Iris Richardson and Deputy Chief Jason Zajac, along with our Human Resources strategic partners.

We also ascribe to the Penn State Finance and Business Diversity Statement, which states:

"We affirm our personal commitment to the University’s values of dignity and respect for all individuals. We believe that the diverse backgrounds and personal characteristics of employees bring varied perspectives and experiences that enrich the environment of the Finance & Business workplaces. Since a diverse workplace is critical to this organization’s ongoing success, we have emphasized diversity and inclusion in our Strategic Plan and we are committed to keeping it as a priority in our everyday business.

"We expect the work culture within Finance & Business to be free of negativity and prejudice and we expect everyone to be able to come to work and not worry about being harassed or demeaned. We also expect that all employees will interact with all members of the University community in a professional and respectful manner regardless of their own personal beliefs or backgrounds. We will strive to have a workplace and community that are comfortable, safe and welcoming for everyone.

"We encourage anyone who experiences or witness intolerance to come forward without fear of retaliation. We recognize that building a diverse and inclusive organization is a continuing process that requires commitment, focused effort and the attention of us all. We will achieve this if we all do our part to ensure that we treat the people around us with kindness, respect and dignity."

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30 x 30 Initiative

Penn State University Police and Public Safety (UPPS) has signed on to the 30x30 Initiative Pledge as part of its transparency and accountability efforts to increase diversity in policing for the improvement of public safety, community outcomes and trust in law enforcement. 

The 30 x 30 Initiative is a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations who have joined together to advance the representation and experiences of women in policing agencies across the United States. 

Currently, women make up only 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership in the United States. 30x30 research has found that this under-representation of women in policing undermines public safety. Research shows women officers use less force and less excessive force; are named in fewer compaints and lawsuits; are perceived by communities as being more honest and compassionate; see better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases; and make fewer discretionary arrests.

UPPS is one of over 100 other policing agencies across the country that has signed the 30x30 Initiative Pledge to fill their ranks with 30% women in police recruitment classes by 2030. Agencies that have signed the pledge include major metro departments such as the New York City Police Department, mid-sized, rural, university and state police agencies. 

Via a series of low- and no-cost actions, the 30x30 Initiative Pledge affirms that policing agencies can assess any gender equity, identify factors that may be driving any disparities and implement strategies to eliminate barriers and advance women in policing. These actions address recruitment, assessment, hiring, retention, promotion and agency culture. In addition, police policies and culture should be created with the intent to support the success of both qualified women and men officers throughout their careers. 

Signing on to the 30X30 Initiative is another step in UPPS’ movement toward not only diversity and equity but also accountability. Other steps in the UPPS transparency and accountability initiative include greater public access to many UPPS policies, details of arrest data and other important information related to police operations at Penn State. In addition to these efforts, UPPS hired Iris Richardson as a diversity, equity, and inclusion director in June 2020 to develop overall DEI programming for the unit – across 24 Penn State campuses. 

The 30x30 Initiative Pledge is affiliated with the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE). For more information, visit or  

Action Steps that have been taken thus far:

  • A press release was sent out at the start of the new year Penn State news

  • Advertisement was posted on all our social media platforms

  • Demographics have been collected to monitor our female sworn officer percentages

  • UPPS distributed an anonymous survey to women officers to learn about their concerns, priorities, and perspectives on culture, parity, and opportunity within the department.

  • Department-wide brochures were developed.

  • Opportunities were provided to attend conferences (PA Women's Conference, Emotional Survival for Female Law Enforcement, etc.)

  • Two listening sessions were planned by the Director of DEI and the Executive Deputy Chief to learn morea bout our female officers's experiences.

  • UPPS officers were informed about the Women's Employee Resource Group.

  • UPPS ensures all equipment for women officers is appropriate and fit to the officers' proportions (e.g. uniforms, firearms, ballistic-resistant vests).

  • Female officers were involved in our recruitment process (visiting police academies, recruitment fairs, and interviewing candidates).

Action Steps for the next 6 months:

  • UPPS and HR will be reviewing our hiring data. If the proportion of women applicants is higher than the proportion of women hired, this may indicate latent bias in the assessment process.
  • UPPS will continue to review officer demographic data across rank and assignment. We will be checking to see if  women are disproportionately assigned to specific roles/responsibilities. Some of these assignments may be due to self-selection. We use a “bid” system.
  • UPPS will continue offering exit interviews to all officers and civilians who voluntarily separate from the department (including through retirement) and will analyze responses for insights and trends, especially across genders.
  • UPPS will continue to conduct focus groups with a representative sample of officers to learn their concerns, priorities, and perspectives on culture, equity, and opportunity within the department. We will also consider including our civilian employees in our sample to understand their perspective and how it may differ from sworn officers.
  • UPPS will ensure assessors and background investigators receive bias training (or analogous training) at least annually.

UPPS Employee Demographics 

University Police and Public Safety is committed to having a workforce that reflects the community it serves. We remain committed to recruitment and retention with the guidance of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office and other Penn State stakeholders. Below is recent UPPS employee demographic data. Going forward, the data will be updated on an annual basis.

Race/Ethnicity Demographics 

2022 Demographics - Count of UPPS Employees by Race/Ethnicity
  Asian Black Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native Two or More Races Undeclared White Total
Sworn Officer 3 5 8 0 1 25 112 154
Non-Sworn 1 2 3 2 0 6 58 72
Total  4 7 11 2 1 31 170 226
2022 Demographics - Percentage of UPPS Employees by Race/Ethnicity
  Asian Black Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native Two or More Races Undeclared White Total
Sworn Officer 1.33% 2.21% 3.54% 0.00% 0.44% 11.06% 49.56% 68.14%
Non-Sworn 0.44% 0.88% 1.33% 0.88% 0.00% 2.65% 25.66% 31.86%
Total  1.77% 3.10% 4.87% 0.88% 0.44% 13.72% 75.22% 100.00%

Gender Demographics 

2022 Demographics - Count of UPPS Employees by Gender
  Female Male Total 
Sworn Officer 25 129 154
Non-Sworn 33 39 72
Total  58 168 226
2022 Demographics - Percentage of UPPS Employees by Gender
  Female Male Total 
Sworn Officer 11.06% 57.08% 68.14%
Non-Sworn 14.60% 17.26% 31.86%
Total 25.65% 74.34% 100.00%

Veteran Demographics   

2022 Demographics - Count of UPPS Employees by Veteran Status
  No Yes Total 
Sworn Officer 139 15 154
Non-Sworn 67 5 72
Total  206 20 226
2022 Demographics - Percentage of UPPS Employees by Veteran Status
  No Yes Total
Sworn Officer 61.51% 6.64% 68.15%
Non-Sworn 29.64% 2.21% 31.85%
Total  91.15% 8.85% 100.00%