NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, Gay Officer Action League (GOAL) president Brian Downey, and other high-ranking LGBTQ officials unveiled a new effort on June 24 that they say will make the NYPD more inclusive of the LGBTQ community.
During the press conference at One Police Plaza, officials announced the department’s plans to update NYPD personnel systems for officers who want to voluntarily self-report their gender identity and sexual orientation and laid out plans to hire additional LGBTQ police staff in the Hate Crime Task Force and the Community Affairs LGBTQIA Outreach Unit. The department is also planning to broaden LGBTQ-specific training for officers, which includes a guide on using affirming language for LGBTQ New Yorkers.
The NYPD also announced the department’s LGBTQ liaison, Carl Locke, will soon retire. Sergeant Ana Arboleda, a lesbian Latina woman, will take over as the next LGBTQ liaison within the department.
Locke said he wants the department to explore updating documents to be more inclusive of non-binary and gender-non-conforming people.
“I came in to make a difference, and here now in my retirement…I feel like I did it,” said Locke, who has served two decades in the department. “There are challenges in this department, and there are things the department will have to do to push itself.”
The NYPD’s Office of Equity and Inclusion is hosting monthly meetings with representatives from multiple bureaus across the department to discuss issues pertaining to LGBTQ employees. GOAL also meets quarterly with the police commissioner, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the NYPD’s employee relations team, according to the police department.
As officers highlighted changes to the department, Heritage of Pride’s (HOP) controversial decision to ban uniformed officers from Pride events also garnered attention. Shea and Downey denounced the ban.
“I personally don’t agree with it, and I’m disappointed,” said Shea, who added that NYPD officers are still required to patrol the area. “But, I know we will rally and come together.”
Downey echoed a similar message and stated that the group has not had “direct contact” with HOP regarding the march.
The NYPD said they discussed internal ways to mitigate interactions with protesters. Last year, Reclaim Pride Coalition’s Queer Liberation March erupted into chaos as NYPD officers allegedly roughed up and pepper-sprayed protesters at the conclusion of the march. Because of this incident, organizers from Reclaim Pride Coalition warned officers to avoid their upcoming march on June 27.
Calls to make the department more welcoming to LGBTQ individuals come amid a backdrop of anti-LGBTQ crime in New York City. Just a day before the presser, a transgender woman was stabbed by a man wielding a screwdriver at a Manhattan subway station. Similarly, a transgender man and his wife were recently slashed on the subway after a perpetrator allegedly hurled anti-LGBTQ slurs at the couple. A trans woman was brutally attacked by her Grindr date in the Bronx last month, leaving her with lacerations and bruises on her body.
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