Join Central VA Police Departments for a community conversation at the GCCR this Sunday afternoon
Want to learn more about what Central Virginia’s police departments are doing to support local LGBTQ communities? Well this Sunday, you’ll get your chance to meet with reps from RVA, Henrico and Chesterfield PD’s and let them know what they are doing right and wrong.
“It’s a way of maintaining an ongoing conversation between our community and the police department. It’s open to the public, it’s free, and it’s a time that people, in a safe environment, can not only thank the police for the work that they’re doing but question policies or procedures that police departments have,” said Bill Harrison of the Richmond Gay Community Foundation. “It’s a dialogue, it’s not an arena for arguments but it’s an arena for dialogue and conversation.”
Their upcoming conversation will be on Sunday January 18th from 2-4, the topic being: ‘Law Enforcement and LGBTQ—How Times Have Changed?’
The relationship between the police department in Richmond as well as Henrico and Chesterfield police departments and the LGBTQ community have strengthened greatly in even just the past two years. These Community Conversations have been an outlet for the two communities to strengthen ties and to let the LGBTQ community know that there is no hostility towards them by anyone in the police force.
“There are certainly circumstances where there are people in our community that would not dial 911, for example domestic violence, they might fear calling the police not knowing how the police officer will react once they arrive and see that it’s two men or two women,” said Harrison about some of the fears members of the LGBTQ community might have in reaching out to local police departments.
“We have been reassured by all three police chiefs that that need not be a concern,” said Harrison. “So, again, this is an opportunity, you know a lot of us here have had these one on one meetings with the police department and we want as many community members as possible to have that opportunity.”
Harrison said he thinks times have changed dramatically for the LGBTQ community in Central VA, especially compared to how it was 20 years ago.
“Up until 1991, it was illegal in Virginia to sell alcohol to known homosexuals. In the 60’s and 70’s police frequently raided gay bars and arrested patrons,” said in the press release for this upcoming conversation.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in Virginia, and our local police departments are renting booths at gay pride events to recruit potential employees from the LGBTQ community to join the police force – the times, they are a’changing.
“They have been to the last two Transgender Day of Remembrance services, the Pride Festival the year before last (2013), the chief spoke to the crowd from the stage,” said Harrison about the police department.
What can be expected at this particular talk about how times have changed in regards to the relationship between the LGBTQ community and the local police departments?
“It’s a safe environment for dialogue, for each one of the police dept. force to share how they believe progress has been made,” said Harrison. “And their attitudes towards discrimination with the police department and it will be an opportunity for people to ask questions.”
For anybody interested to see the progress that has been made, ask questions or share concerns with the police department or to thank them, this is a great chance to learn or entertain changes that could be made to strengthen the two communities.
“If people cannot attend or if they are hesitant to attend, they can email me: email@example.com any questions that they might have for the police dept. and I will not share where the question is coming from,” said Harrison. “I will ask but not share who it came from only if they want me too.”
Community Conversation: ‘Law Enforcement and LGBTQ—How Times Have Changed?’
Sunday, January 18, 2015 from 2:00-4:00 PM
Gay Community Center in the Community Classroom
1407 Sherwood Ave., Richmond, VA 23220.
It is free and open to the public.
Ministers and counselors will be present to meet with attendees.November 11, 2016
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