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Crime Scene: Hate crimes, D.C. police and the gay and lesbian community

(Cross-posted from Crime Scene)

It was a day of disagreement between D.C. police and gay activitists over how the department handles hate crimes, and whether the gay community is being served by changes to the Gay and Lesbian Liason Unit.

At a hearing Friday chaired by Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier gave more details about changes to the GLLU, a popular special unit in the police department made up of openly gay officers who respond to crimes and incidents in the gay, lesbian, and transgender community. Lanier testified that her plan to supplant the unit with officers from across the city -- she called them "affiliates" -- will begin in earnest Nov. 30 when 57 officers who volunteered for the assignment will receive five days of training.

But Chris Farris, Co-Chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) testified that the gay community has not received up-to-date information on hate crimes and that calls to the unit's special pager have gone unanswered since the sergeant of the unit was transferred to patrol. A sergeant who oversees several specialized units including the Latino Liason Unit, took over the administration of the GLLU.

Some other interesting facts to come out of the hearing:

- A new report from the police department, Bias-Related Crime in the District of Columbia, says that while a majority of gay and lesbian hate crimes still take place in Wards 1, 2, and 3, there has been an increase in assaults in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia river, with gay-related hate crimes jumping to 32 percent in the last year, up from 19 percent, Lanier testified.

- The Office of Police Complaints, an independent agency that looks into police misconduct complaints, said it has retooled its tracking of inadequate police service complaints and will tag those that are related to hate crimes. That information will be sent to D.C. police on a weekly basis so both agencies can better track police response to hate crimes, testified Philip K. Eure, the agency's executive director.

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  November 23, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety , D.C. Council , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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I attended the GLLU open house last Tuesday where a representative of the DC police spoke. She kept using the word "expansion" for the plans that Lanier and the mayor have. It's clearly more of a dilution, at best.


Posted by: DCCharles | November 23, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

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