San Jose Police officers will now get specialized training that is aimed at improving the relationship with the members of the city’s LGBTQ Community.
The police department said on Facebook that the new policy on LGBTQ sensitivity training, which goes into effect immediately, will improve interactions across all areas of police encounters. Under the new policy, officers will be given training in which they will learn the intricacies of gender identity.
After that, it will be required of officers to address people by the name and pronoun of their preference, regardless of their full legal name. Those name preferences and gender pronoun choices will also be required to be reflected in written police reports and other official police paperwork.
The San Jose Police Department is one of the only police departments in the country to date to implement such a policy.
The department says it worked collaboratively with members of the LGBTQ community to get it enacted.
“Being able to respect someone’s identity is paramount. For the San Jose Police Department, it’s a good step forward in being able to respect someone’s name, identity, and gender pronouns. It ensures that they don’t get mistreated,” says Sera Fernando, a transgender activist who works for Santa Clara County and helped write the new policy, speaking to KPIX.
According to NBC Bay Area, new police cadets will be required to visit the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center as part of their academy training.
“It’s really about respect and dignity. It’s about calling people by the names that they use regardless of what a legal document may say. These are issues that are complex. And we're expecting our officers to be competent in these areas. And this gives them a guide and some instruction on how to interact appropriately, ” said Officer James Gonzales, the LGBTQ Liason Officer of SJPD told NBC Bay Area.
Officer Edward Carboni joined the force in 2014 and came out 3 years later.
“Putting it in writing reinforces and reaffirms that we're here to do the right thing. We're part of the community. We understand how the community works. And we're here to protect them," Officer Carboni told KPIX.
The San Jose Police Department decided to enact the policy despite the fact that it is currently in search of a new police chief.