GLAA Update: Meeting with Chief Lanier on GLLU
Related Links

NAACP task force writes to Chief Lanier on biased policing and liaison units 06/20/07

Stein Club votes strong support of GLLU 06/18/07

GLAA Action Alert: Stop Decentralization of GLLU 06/14/07

New unit supervisor to serve under GLLU commander (Metro Weekly) 05/03/07

Lesbian to head D.C. police gay liaison unit (The Washington Blade) 04/27/07

GLAA supports proposed budget for Office of Police Complaints 04/25/07

Policing the Police (Rosendall, Metro Weekly) 04/05/07

Advisor to police chief outlines plans to 'expand' departments GLBT policing program (MW) 03/29/07

GLAA declines to endorse Lanier as police chief 03/16/07

D.C. police chief names new gay adviser (The Washington Blade) 02/16/07

DC Police chief names Lt. Jova head of Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (MW) 02/15/07

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GLAA Update: Meeting with Chief Lanier on GLLU

From:Rick Rosendall
Sent:Wednesday, June 20, 2007 9:16 PM
To:GLAA Members
Subject:Meeting with Chief Lanier on GLLU; letter of support from NAACP-DC


On Wednesday afternoon I attended a meeting with Police Chief Cathy Lanier and GLBT community leaders on the future of MPD's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU). It went better than many of us expected. She acknowledged that MPD's communication of her plan was not done well (though she still talked about our having reacted to "rumors," and I assure you I was responding last Thursday to information from a highly placed MPD source, and went over the draft of my action alert with that person before sending it out). I think she convinced all of us of her sincere commitment to changing the homophobic and transphobic culture in the department over the long term.

The concerns around the table were about implementation. A lot of us were concerned that the cohesion and "safe space" provided by the centralized GLLU would be lost if its officers are all redeployed to the patrol districts. Peter Rosenstein made an excellent suggestion that we could maintain the central core of the unit while also recruiting more officers from the PSAs around the city, who would be trained by GLLU and then sent out to (in my word) evangelize for the cause in the patrol districts. That way, the presence of GLLU officers would be improved throughout the city without losing the advantages of the central core. Lanier seemed to listen receptively to us.

There doesn't appear to be an implementation plan yet, so we stressed our eagerness to collaborate with the Chief in developing such a plan, with the goal of our being able to stand with her when she rolls out the plan a few months from now. That, as Peter put it, would be a win-win for everyone. We will have to stay engaged to ensure that this happens.

After the meeting, a number of the officers thanked us for our efforts. One of the points I stressed was that the furor in the community over the past several days should be seen as a positive thing, because the spectacle of the GLBT community rising up in strong and impassioned defense of a police unit shows how far we have come since the entrapment of gay men and police raids of gay bars in the 1950s and 60s -- and even since the Halloween riot against gays by police 16 years ago. I said that this kind of community investment in a police unit can be used as a basis for making further inroads in the rest of the force. (Also, without the strong community response over the past several days, today's meeting might not have happened.)

In sum, I am cautiously optimistic, though we will have to stay engaged.


Rick Rosendall
Vice President for Political Affairs
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance

PS: Early this afternoon, Rev. Mark Thompson of the local NAACP Police Task Force (on which I have represented GLAA for ten years) sent Chief Lanier a letter supporting our concerns. [See link at upper right.] Thanks to Mark for being such a faithful coalition partner.

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