By Kayla Hess
Hello, my name is Kayla and I will be talking to you about who the LGBT liaison officers are. The LGBT liaison officers are specially appointed positions who work with other officers to help bring them and the LGBTQ community together. They work with the officers to open up dialog, help build a relationship with the community and be pro-active. All seven cities in Hampton Roads have selected LGBT liaison officer as of March 14th, 2017.
According to Hampton Roads Pride representatives, these are the roles of the LGBT liaison officers. This was pulled straight from the Hampton Road Pride page.
- “Serve as both a spokesperson for the organization to a local LGBT demographics as well as a representative of LGBT interests to the leaders of the organization. LGBT liaisons typically play an advisory role to organizations or government branches.
- Promote equity and inclusion in the workplace, which can enhance an agency’s ability to attract and retain the brightest talent.
- Liaison officers, who typically oversee diversity training on sexual orientation, attend special events and generally function as go-betweens, are viewed as critical to bridging the historically deep divide between the LGBT community and law enforcement
- Help to build mutual trust, respect, and understanding
- Break down barriers and preconceived ideas that both sides have of each other. Officers serve not just as an asset to the LGBT community but also as a resource for fellow officers if they have questions or concerns about how to deal with different situations they may face.
- Assist, advise, and consult other officers on cases involving LGBT issues
- Provide training for members of the department on LGBT topics
- Meet with business owners, community groups, and individuals of the LGBT community and present information on relevant law enforcement issues
- Attend events in the LGBT community as a representative of the agency
- Identify and attend training related to LGBT topics”
It is extremely important to Hampton Road’s queer history because these police officers will be role models for LGBTQA community and other police departments. Norfolk was the first to create the LGBT liaison officer position. Police officers are a problematic topic right now. Shinning a brighter light on police officers could be beneficial for civilians and our local police officers. The LGBTQA community does not favor police officers, similar to other minority groups. Police officers have not been trained enough how to approach people of other genders, sexual orientation, and race that does not reflect who they are, respectfully. These elected officers will be there to assist members of the queer community who are targets of violent crime and hate crimes. A lot of crimes in the LGBT community are not reported so this cycle of violence never ends. I believe that spreading the word that there are LGBT appointed liaison officers who are a part of the queer community in our local police departments will help bridge the two groups together.
- Virginian-Pilot, Jane Harper The. “Virginia Beach police name their first liaison to the LGBT community.” Virginian-Pilot, Pilot, 11 May 2016, pilotonline.com/news/local/crime/virginia-beach-police-name-their-first-liaison-to-the-lgbt/article_8257921b-fd33-5574-80ca-590bb51a095a.html.
- “LGBT liaison officers appointed in all seven Hampton Roads cities.” WTKR.com, TRIBUNE BROADCASTING, 14 Mar. 2017, wtkr.com/2017/03/14/lgbt-liaison-officers-appointed-in-all-seven-hampton-roads-cities/.