DC police chief responds to criticism over gay liaison training
In the wake of criticism over changes to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, the department’s top brass continue to reassure local residents its reassigned officers have received the proper training.
As EDGE reported on Dec. 23, 2009, the DC Trans Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club criticized the session during which all new affiliate GLUU officers were trained. Many believed it was inadequate, and they cited a specific failure to discuss the distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity.
Local activists also expressed skepticism over the department’s decision to change the GLUU. They feared a centralized office with less staff signaled a dissolution of the unit. Their concerns stem from a shift in GLUU’s staffing focus, which now utilizes volunteer liaisons officers throughout the city.
There are currently 23 GLUU members -- four in the office and the remaining 19 in affiliates. There had been seven officers working from the centralized office.
Cathy L. Lanier, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, told EDGE in a recent interview the decision to establish affiliate offices arose, in part, from a shift in the District’s gay population.
"A few years ago, most of the population was in DuPont Circle," she noted. "Now, there’s a sizable population in Wards 6 and 7."