Monday, November 19, 2012

Phoenix police name new liaisons to the city's LGBT community, and anti-anarchist/protest unit

The replacements for disgraced Red Squad officer Chris Wilson has been announced. The chairman of the LGBT advisory board, who works with the police in mediating community rage, said very plainly what the reform institutions purpose is: “When we recognize a problem, we address it professionally and not by burning down half of the city because you have one officer who decided to be stupid.” 

As if the problem with the police is the one bad apple hired. The attitude of the police and those who justify their existence is extreme paranoia, even when hyperbolic. When was the last time anything was burned down because of the police in this city? How silly that this non-example is trotted out to justify the police presence in a community that routinely is subjected to homophobia/transphobia from police and has every reason to oppose police.

An older photo of the Phoenix PD's Red Squad, photo from prison abolitionist

  Top Row
Lt. Bryan Coley, Det. Rick Tamburo, Det. Dottie Conroy, Det. Al Ramirez, Det. Rick Flum, Det. Tony Davis

Bottom Row
Det. Jeff Wood, Sgt. Mark Schweikert, Det. Jerry Oliver, Det. Chris Wilson, Det. Chris Abril

 From the AZ Repulsive:

Two detectives recently took on roles as the Phoenix Police Department’s liaisons to the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia’s announcement in October came three months after the arrest of the previous liaison, Detective Christopher J. Wilson, on suspicion of sexual misconduct with two teenage boys.

Wilson, who handed in his badge immediately after his August arrest, met one of the boys through his duties with the LGBT community, according to court documents. Wilson sits in jail and faces an initial pretrial conference Nov.27.

Last week, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, which oversees peace-officer training, conduct and certification, accepted Wilson’s voluntary relinquishment of his state certification without discussion.

On Oct.31, Garcia introduced Detectives Julie Smith and Dottie Conroy at department headquarters to representatives from various community groups, including the Phoenix Police LGBT Citizen Advisory Board.

Conroy, a 17-year veteran, said that as an openly gay woman, it’s an opportunity “to deal with the community that I love.”

Smith, who is heterosexual, said since joining the department nine years ago, she had always wanted to work with the various communities in Phoenix. The Phoenix native said she looks forward to her new assignment because “it is so diverse and so wonderful.”

In 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey estimated 6.4percent of Phoenix’s population identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. That’s about 63,222 people.

Garcia, who became chief in May, will assign two detectives to each of the department’s eight community advisory boards for minority groups, which include Muslims, Sikhs, Hispanics and African-Americans.

The move will enable the department to do more outreach, said Gerald Richard, assistant to the police chief.

Richard said community advisory boards foster dialog and build relationships between the department and minority groups to handle issues before they erupt into turmoil.

Don Hamill, a community activist who has served as a board member of Phoenix Pride, told Garcia officers still need more education.

“There is a problem in your force, and it affects everybody in this room,” Hamill said.

Hamill said he recently overheard uniformed officers use the words, “‘the gays,’ because they’ve been told not to use the ‘F’ word.”

“It’s wrong,” Hamill said. “I was shocked to hear it. I pay their salary (and) pension.”

He told the chief that there should be zero tolerance for inappropriate language, and officers should use no other adjective than citizen in talking about groups of people.

“I agree with you 100 percent,” Garcia said. “We are not at Shangri-La yet.”

Patrick Kelley, who co-chairs the LGBT Citizen Advisory Board, also commended the selection of Conroy and Smith.

Kelley said advisory groups help bring understanding between the community and police. He said about a year ago, a Phoenix police officer stopped a man dressed in drag going to a fundraising event and asked, “Why are you dressed like a freak?”

Kelley said the issue was brought up at an advisory-board meeting.

He said officers at the precinct where the incident took place received cultural-sensitivity training.

“When we recognize a problem, we address it professionally and not by burning down half of the city because you have one officer who decided to be stupid.”

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