RALEIGH, N.C, (WNCN) — Policing is a male dominated field. Nationwide, women make up just 12 percent of police officers.

Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson is among the just 3 percent of female officers in leadership roles across the U.S.

“What attracted me to this job in the first place was another,” said Patterson. “I looked at her and she kind of reminded me of myself and I said ‘If she can do it, I certainly can do it’.”

Only five out of 50 people in Patterson’s recruit class in Charlotte were women.

“That’s a small number, but that was a big number at that time,” she said.

Today, women make up 12 percent of Raleigh’s police force. Patterson wants to more than double that.

The department is just one of hundreds of law enforcement agencies taking the “30 X 30 pledge.” It calls for women to make up 30 percent of recruit classes by 2030.

CBS 17 asked her if reaching 30 percent by 2030 was a feasible goal.

“It’s a monumental task for sure, but it’s achievable because we are being intentional,” said Patterson.

The department is targeting their recruitment efforts in areas where they know there may be women that we are interested in policing. It is offering bonuses as an incentive for new and transferring recruits.

Patterson said they’re also looking for ways to support mothers who may be interested in joining but face hurdles with child care.

“It can be difficult if you have children with the hours that we work. That’s something I’d like to explore to see ‘Can we accommodate that in some way?'” said Patterson.

For her, it’s important officers look like the communities they serve. Women make up more than half of Raleigh’s population.

“We all train the same,” said Patterson “But I think the art of communication is something that women do well and we’re able to use that in this field and in this work,” she said.

Patterson said having women respond to calls not only provides a different perspective but can help put female victims or children at ease. She hopes increasing women in the ranks now can inspire future generations.

“I’ve had a couple little girls, young girls come up to me and say ‘I want to be a police chief’. And I said ‘That is absolutely wonderful and, yes, you can be a police chief’.”

The chief said while entering a male-dominated field may seem intimidating, having a passion to serve and a compassionate heart are what matters most.