MPD receives poor score on LGBTQ report card

As Georgetown students wait excitedly (or maybe not so excitedly) to receive their mid-term grades, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) receives a poor score from D.C.’s LGBTQ community.

The MPD’s priority report for the coming year did not include a plan to strengthen the MPD’s relationship with the LGBTQ community, and the Hate Crimes Assignment Task Force (HCATF) and other LGBTQ representatives argue that much more can, and should, be done to strengthen this relationship.

In 2011, the HCATF made suggestions to the MPD on ways to improve its relationship with the LGBTQ community as well as ways to improve the effectiveness of its Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU).

The only one of these changes that has been completed as of now is the appointment of Sgt. Jessica Hawkins as leader of the GLLU; Hawkins is the first openly transgender person to hold this role since the unit’s creation. While this is a positive change and a step in the right direction, all other recommendations made by the HCATF have undergone little to no progress.

The HCATF especially wants the MPD to improve on the system of reporting and recording of hate crimes as well as broaden the GLLU’s outreach towards transgender citizens. Members of the transgender community are insisting upon more detailed reports of progress in hate crime cases and unsolved transgender homicides.

MPD officers involved with the GLLU are undergoing training on how to interact with the LGBTQ community and how to correctly handle and report hate crimes, but there are many concerns over the quality and effectiveness of this training. Not much time is allotted to this type of training, and many officers still report hate crimes either too late or not at all.

The MPD definitely has a ways to go, but hopefully the HCATF’s recommendations will be taken into serious consideration. The full report published by the HCATF can be read here.

Photo: thisisbossi via flickr

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