AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the launch of Austin Police Department’s 145th cadet academy March 28, APD Chief Joseph Chacon discussed the department’s push for diversifying its ranks in a public safety commission meeting Monday evening.

APD’s 145th academy includes 84 cadets, broken down as follows:

  • 41 Hispanic, Latino cadets
  • 29 white cadets
  • 8 Black cadets
  • 5 Asian cadets
  • 1 cadet classified as other (didn’t identify with any of the previously mentioned racial and ethnic groups)

From a percentage standpoint, Hispanic cadets encompassed 48% of the class. APD’s 145th academy class includes 17% women cadets, larger than the department’s present standings. APD’s current force comprises 11% women officers.

Specifically, Chacon said his department is looking to increase the number of Black and female sworn members of the force to better align with reflecting community demographics. Within the past month, Chacon said he’s signed onto the 30 by 30 Initiative, which aims to have 30% of police departments’ sworn employees identify as women by the year 2030.

Currently, more than 150 city and university police departments have signed onto the endeavor.

“We’re at 11% right now but we’ve joined a number of other cities in the country that have joined this initiative and are actively working to both increase the diversity, not just by race but by gender,” Chacon said. “And that was a really strong indication of our commitment to bring in more women into this profession and see more women in leadership roles within our department.”

Chacon added the department is working with Joyce James Consulting on a similar program for Black applicants, to help determine representation metrics for the department moving forward.