RPD Liaison Captain Greene meets with community, announces ROSMY-run LGBTQ training for RPD officers
Diversity Richmond played host to the some of the top brass in Richmond law enforcement Tuesday night in public event where a new training program for local police was announced.
The event was also notable for an appearance by state Attorney General Mark Herring.
“Chief, you’re doing a great job for the RPD, Captain Greene, thanks for what you’re doing,” said Herring to the crowd of about 50 in attendance. His stop, unannounced and a general surprise to all who attended, was part of a state-wide tour of programs that aim to connect local PD’s with community groups in the hopes of building trust.
“I support the police working with the LGBT community here in Richmond, and I’m all about citizen engagement with local law enforcement,” said Herring.
Herring then opened the floor to Richmond’s new(ish) police chief Alfred Durham who took over from Chief Tarasovic back in February 2015.
Durham had big shoes to fill, and the former Police Liaison, Major Oddetta Johnson, stayed on as LGBT Liaison until she retired last fall. The RPD LGBT Liaison post had been vacant until earlier this year when Captain. Angela Greene was assigned to the position.
“I wanted [the new liaison] to share my vision. It’s easy to put anyone in the position and If I had I know I would have heard from you,” he said joking about the time gap between liaisons. “It was hard to replace Oddetta, she’s a class act and she got it. It took time.”
Jim Rhoads (PrimeTimers), Chief Alfred Durham, and Guy Kinman
Durham stressed the importance of the position in the context of RPD working with the many different communities here in Richmond.
“I need to do a better job getting my officers to understand [different communities], but bear with me, we’re gonna get there,” he said.
He then formally introduced Captain Greene to the crowd, saying the former member of the Community, Youth and Intervention services department had experience working with diverse communities and she was excited to take on the new duty.
“I feel so honored, almost unworthy of all of this but I really do feel honored and I will do everything that I can to make sure any issues or concerns you have,” said Greene before the crowd. “I will address them – whether LGBTQ issues or life issues. I will always be available for you.”
Greene promised to make sure her job would not stop after 5 o’clock, and stressed her mission as the city’s LGBT Liaison was to serve the community and inform her fellow officers.
“It’s all about inclusiveness, equality for everybody, all human beings with all equality as long as we have a say in that,” she said.
Greene then announced a new training partnership with ROSMY, an RVA based org that serves local LGBTQ youth. The new partnership involves training every RPD officer in LGBTQ sensitivity to “make sure every single police officer will be trained in how to handle issues in the community.”
She also said RPD would work with local public schools and ROSMY to connect the two groups to train administrators and resource officers in LGBTQ issues.
“We will make sure everybody is treated equality,” she said. “We make sure everybody knows we’re there to address any needs about whats going on.”
The school training program is set to begin in August, according to Greene.
The new liaison also address long-held concerns around trusting police officers. Much of the older crowd in attendance remembers the days when gay clubs and bars were illegal in RVA. Greene acknowledged it can be hard to mend those wounds, but she promised to do what she could.
“With issues around distrust of the police, I want to be there to be open and transparent to address any issues we might have,” she said.
Bill Harrison, Executive Director of Diversity Richmond, spoke some about how much he’s seen the relationship between RPD and the local LGBTQ community change in the years he’s been in town.
“We are making history when we can have an event and the AG of Virginia can hear about it and come to it,” he said. “That’s history. Cause a lot of us remember when that wouldn’t have been the case here in Virginia… Now all three, now four, of these people are ever present in our community, if we have an event, I can assure you they’re gonna be there.”
Members of James River Transgender Society, Harrison, Captain Greene, Rhoads, and RBA’s Bary Hausrath
The liaison position at RPD, a volunteer gig stacked on top of normal police duties, has usually involved showing up at community events and acting as a point of contact when crimes are committed against or by LGBTQ community members. Past examples of the position include setting up recruitment booths at Virginia Pride and working with folks like GayRVA to explaining sensitive crime-related issues to the community.
“Every hour, a crime motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against the victim occurs in the United States, and Virginia is not immune to such acts.”January 13, 2017
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