Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
DOJ trains cops to work with transgender people
First Published Mar 27 2014 07:30 pm • Last Updated Mar 27 2014 07:30 pm

Washington • The Justice Department launched a program Thursday to train local police departments to better respond to transgender individuals, a population authorities say is disproportionately harmed by violence.

The new initiative is aimed at helping police identify hate crimes and build trust with a community that law enforcement officials say is too often reluctant to report crimes.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"It’s clear that such a training is as necessary as it is overdue," Associate Attorney General Tony West said at a ceremony unveiling the program. "Because too often, in too many places, we know that transgender victims are discouraged from reporting hate crimes and hate violence due to their past negative interactions with and perceptions of law enforcement."

The training effort is being overseen by the department’s Community Relations Service, which was established under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and works with communities to prevent and respond to hate crimes.

The initiative comes as police departments face scrutiny over their responsiveness to crimes against transgender people. In Washington, D.C., for instance, Police Chief Cathy Lanier acknowledged this year in response to a task force’s report that the department needed to do more to build trust with the city’s transgender community.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole said it was unacceptable that transgender people don’t report crimes against them "based on the community’s fears about law enforcement’s support and perceptions."

"This is not a result that can or will be tolerated by the Department of Justice, and it runs counter to the very role your community public safety officials want to promote," Cole said.

He cited a national transgender discrimination survey published in 2011 in which 61 percent of respondents reported being the victim of a physical assault and 41 percent reported having attempted suicide.

The Community Relations Service has regional offices around the country that will offer the training to police departments. The lesson plans includes suggestions for confronting bullying in schools as well as lists of do’s — such as asking a person for his or her preferred gender pronoun — and don’ts, such as using the term "transvestite" or asking whether the person has had sex-change surgery.

Tiq Milan, a senior media strategist and spokesman for GLAAD, said the training program was a step toward correcting a relationship between police and transgender individuals that is fraught with mistrust.


story continues below
story continues below

"Cops will deal with trans folks and assume because you’re trans, then in some kind of way you’ve caused this kind of violence on you," he said.

Harper Jean Tobin, who as policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality helped design and model the program, also said she thought it was a good idea but cautioned that training by itself would not mend the relationship. She said there was more work that needed to be done in areas such as guaranteeing respect for transgender people who are taken into custody or being questioned by police.

"You can’t train your way out of this problem. It’s one piece of the puzzle. It’s one tool that we can use," she said.

———

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http//www.twitter.com/etuckerAP



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.