“The police department recognized a need to reach out to all of our diverse communities in Montgomery County and develop that relationship,” said Lieutenant Nicholas Augustine, Montgomery County Police.
Police reassured the LGBTQ community that they are here to help, especially in light of recent national and local incidents.
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While plans for the meetings were already in the works, Chief Manger says the Pulse Nightclub shooting was the perfect catalyst to bring the community together.
“This is our second meeting, and it’s an opportunity for the police department to engage with the LGBTQ community over issues we have a mutual interest in,” said Chief Manger.
…like safety, crime, and bias-related incidents.
There have been seven bias-related incidents this year, which is already higher than last year’s count.
Police say this is unacceptable, but could be a sign people are more willing to come to police with crime reports.
“Some are just use of profanity directed towards a certain population or certain person, some range all the way to robberies being committed against them due to being transgender or due to their sexual orientation,” said Augustine.
The Family Justice Center urged any victims of bias-related incidents to reach out to them.
“There’s always concern that you’re misunderstood, there’s always concern that folks will make assumptions,” said Jill McCrory, local pastor.
Police are introducing a new training video for officers on improving interactions with the LGBTQ community.
“The meetings are good and a good start, but it’s really that talking with all of the officers and that ongoing education training piece that’s going to make the difference,” said Mycroft Masada, Trans-faith leader.
The next LGBTQ community meeting will be held on Dec. 7 at Public Safety Headquarters.