A video with a funky backing track, a hip font, and promises of an “open,” “welcoming,” and “diverse” police force are all part of the Baltimore City Police Department’s new attempt to recruit more openly LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) — which they for some reason refer to as GLBT — officers to the force. The department released the video during Baltimore Pride, and even set up a table to recruit Pride parade-goers.
“More times than not, we find the most vulnerable communities throughout the city are the communities that have the most fractured relationships with the Police Department,” Alvin Gillard, co-chair of the department’s new advisory council on LGBT issues, told the Baltimore Sun. “Until now, we haven’t invested the appropriate resources to develop the trust.”
As always, the question remains whether all this talk will actually lead to a more open, welcoming, and diverse police force, or whether it’s a hollow attempt at drumming up some good PR. So far, the new council is working on planning meet-and-greets between police brass and members of the gay community.
The LGBT recruitment video and advisory council are of a piece with nationwide trends, as police departments across the country work to shed their reputations as places where racism and bigotry still fester. The efforts seem especially apt in Baltimore, where 2013 has seen several assaults and even murders that seem to have been linked to the victims’ sexual orientation.
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