The Force is female: 28 percent of MPD officers are women

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The future is female, and so is the force in Madison, where the police department has one of the highest percent of female officers in the country.

Of the 480 total MPD officers, 137 are women. That means 28 percent of the force is female, compared to the national average of just 12 percent. That statistic became the inspiration for the department’s latest social media initiative dubbed, “We are the 28.”

“It's a good job. It's a hard job, but it's worth it. So I love it,” says Officer Clare Gloede, Madison Police Department.

Officer Gloede begins her day at noon, in the heart of Madison’s downtown. She’s just one of the many women who keep a watchful eye on the Capitol City.

“I'm proud to be here, I'm proud to be a female sergeant, I'm proud to have worked patrol and been out in this great community,” says Sgt. Meg Hamilton, Madison Police Department.

Sgt. Hamilton helped spearhead the “We are the 28” campaign, hoping to showcase the many faces of Madison’s force.

“I think that's imperative, that if a community member has to call the police that they see their local police department is representative,” she tells NBC15 News. “That they're seeing women, that they're seeing minorities, that they're seeing people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Because that's that important relational tool that has to be in place for public trust."

Over her three years with MPD, Officer Gloede says she has never felt intimidated because of her gender.

“We have to police differently because maybe going hands on isn't the best tactic in that moment,” she says. “I find that just talking to people, creating space, deescalating, or just saying, 'I'm going to walk away. I am going to walk away as the officer, because this isn't safe right now.'"

Officer Gloede also says she has never felt inferior to male officers on the force.

“I think our department does a good job of allowing women to promote, to train others, to be in any role they want to be. You just have to work for it like anybody else,” she says.

Like any officer, Gloede’s work is never done. From start to finish, Madison is her home.

“There's just something about it. About Madison, downtown that makes the city what it is. I love being a part of it down here,” Officer Gloede says.

You can expect to see updates from the team monthly, on the Madison Police Department’s social media pages. Officers say they hope this initiative will inspire even more women to get behind the badge.