(Photo courtesy of SFPD)

New numbers released by the San Francisco Police Department show the department is making strides in its effort to recruit more women and create a more diverse department.

According to the numbers, within the last year, the department has been able to increase the number of female recruits entering the police academy by 7 percent.

Currently, the department is made up of 85 percent males and 15 percent females. By comparison, women make up less than 13 percent of law enforcement officers nationwide, police said.

Additionally, the numbers, released Dec. 10, showed that between 2008 and 2019, the number of sworn officers who are people of color increased from 46 percent to 51 percent.

Furthermore, out of the department’s 2,266 sworn staff members, 415 officers are certified bilingual in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog and Russian, police said.

“We have made tremendous strides toward recruiting, hiring, developing careers and providing equal opportunities for our sworn and non-sworn members, all with an eye toward making sure our workforce is culturally competent and reflects our diverse communities,” police Chief William Scott said in a statement.

“The U.S. Department of Justice Collaborative Reform Initiative Assessment commended SFPD for our diversity in overall staffing. Though we know we have more work ahead, we enter the new decade encouraged by our progress,” he said.

Although recruiting new officers has become more challenging, the department has developed a Diversity Strategic Plan as part of the department’s Collaborative Reform efforts in order to diversify the department.

Additionally, the department has developed a Staffing and Deployment Unit in order to collect and analyze personnel data to identify staffing needs and barriers to employment.

Police have also stepped up strategies like mentorships, job fairs and academic campus outreach to attract prospective recruits.

“Overall, in today’s economy people have choices,” police Deputy Chief Greg Yee said. “It’s up to us to reach out to people who may have not thought about a career in law enforcement.

“We’re reaching out to different disciplines, other than criminal justice,” he said, including people who’ve studied things like psychology, sociology and business.

Additionally, Yee said the department has been working on strategies to help condition female recruits, in order to dismantle barriers that may prevent them from becoming officers. Strategies include boot camps aimed at preparing female recruits at least six months before they take their physical exams.

“Before we didn’t have a six month opportunity,” he said. “Now we’re exposing it to them earlier and we’re building them up.”