AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department said its latest class of cadets is the most diverse yet. The 145th APD cadet class was available Wednesday night for a community meet and greet in east Austin.
Women make up 17% of the 84-person class, while 48% of APD’s class is Hispanic.
Two cadets KXAN spoke to said they know representation matters. They said the department is focusing on reforms after nationwide protests two years ago.
“When I saw the protest and seeing what the people are asking for which was … we need some form of change. I was like, I just want to be a part of that. It actually pushed me to become a police officer even more,” cadet Kaleb Kassaye said.
In March, APD Chief Joseph Chacon signed a pledge, joining the 30×30 initiative. The 30×30 initiative is a coalition of police leaders, researchers and professional organizations working to boost representation in police forces across the country.
The pledge’s goal is to have women as 30% of sworn APD officers by the year 2030. APD said women comprise about 11% of the current force.
“You want to see that representation. If there are no women, if no one looks like you, then you can’t really relate to them. If they do have a diverse group of cadets, officers, then people can relate better,” cadet Sarah Garcia said.