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MSP Joins 30x30 National Movement to Increase Female Presence in Policing

Yvonne Brantley was 11 years old when the family car burst into flames on a Detroit freeway. A Michigan State Police trooper stopped to help, drove the family home, and accepted an invitation to come inside for coffee. Years later, Brantley calls that day an inflection point in her life, setting her on a path to be post commander at the Michigan State Police (MSP) Flint Post.

Photo of F/Lt. Yvonne Brantley

“He treated us with compassion, took us home, and even came in for a cup of coffee. I’ll never forget the way he made us feel,” she says. “I ran into my grandma’s arms and told her I wanted to be a state trooper when I grow up.”

Forty-three years later, after 26 years in law enforcement, F/Lieutenant Brantley says she’s seen firsthand why communities need more women in policing, and she is thrilled the MSP has joined “30x30,” a national pledge to increase the representation of women in police recruit classes to 30 percent by 2030.

Logo of 30x30 pledge

Only 12 percent of sworn officers and 3 percent of police leadership in the U.S. are women, while research says that women in policing make society safer. This is the reason nearly 250 (and growing) law enforcement agencies across the country have signed the 30x30 pledge.

Data shows that female officers:

  • use less force and less excessive force
  • are named in fewer complaints and lawsuits
  • are perceived by communities as being more honest and compassionate
  • see better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases
  • make fewer discretionary arrests

“We’re here to serve, and women are an essential piece of the puzzle in the problem solving we do,” said Insp. Lisa Rish, who has been with the MSP for 28 years. “The more voices, experiences and perspectives we have at the table, the more successful we’ll be in connecting with and serving our communities.”

Photo of Insp. Lisa Rish

MSP’s employee resource group dedicated to representing and advocating for women, Women Leading Change, learned about the 30x30 initiative through a webinar and introduced it to MSP leaders, who quickly jumped on board. Now, the group is at the forefront of the department’s pledge and has started outlining ways to reach the goal.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Inspector Rish, while explaining the importance of representation. “One of the greatest barriers for women in law enforcement is simply the idea that they can’t do it because they haven’t seen it done.”

So far, the department has attended and hosted recruitment events in various community spaces, where they provide first-hand accounts of what it means to be a female in policing, especially within the MSP.

F/Lieutenant Brantley hopes to see more young women inspired as she was years ago, when a trooper simply did his job, as he was trained to do, with grace and kindness. “It wasn’t the typical dream job of a little girl growing up in Detroit. Women didn’t serve in uniform at that time, and in my family there wasn’t a high regard for the police,” she said, “but I knew I wanted to make people feel the way he made us feel.”

To learn more about a career with the MSP or find an upcoming recruiting event, visit www.michigan.gov/MSPjobs.