AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – Inside the Aurora Public Safety Training Center, a small group gathered Saturday to learn about policing.

But this group looked a bit different than the majority of Colorado police officers because all of them were women.

The Women’s Informational Academy is just one step toward an ambitious goal for the department, which hopes to have women make up 30% of its police force by 2030. 

“It’s really empowering,” said Marian Baena, a future recruit for the department. 

Baena currently works in a restaurant but is planning to try and become an Aurora police officer.

“I was like what am I doing here, making money serving food when I could be doing something more purposeful or impactful to the community,” Baena said.

Currently, the department has 76 female officers, making up less than 11% of the 700 sworn officers on staff. 

Nationwide, the average isn’t much higher, sitting at around 12%. 

Studies have shown female officers use force less often and less excessively. They’re also involved in fewer lawsuits. 

“Women are very good communicators,” Officer Mary Fernandez said. “We are very good problem solvers. We have this natural ability to calm people, especially our male counterparts. So, there’s just so many studies that show having women is beneficial.”

Fernandez helped lead the class on Saturday, hoping to inspire other women to pursue a career in law enforcement.

“They’re all here for the same reason,” she said. “They all have that calling.”

If you’re interested in potentially joining the department, you can find more information at JoinAuroraPD.com.