The Lethbridge Police Service has enhanced policy and used a nationally acclaimed video to increase officer awareness and understanding of transgender issues.
On April 21, 2016 police received a letter of complaint from a provincial organization representing transgender Albertans with regard to the personal social media posts of an officer who commented on the attendance of a transgender woman who was a guest at the Alberta Legislature as part of a ceremony to recognize 100 years of women’s suffrage in the province.
An internal investigation was ordered by the Chief and determined the officer’s comments were made on his personal social media page, he did not identify himself as a police officer or claim to represent the views of the Lethbridge Police Service. On June 2, 2016 the officer retired and as such the Service lost jurisdiction in the professional standards investigation.
Despite the loss of jurisdiction with respect to the officer’s conduct, LPS proceeded with a comprehensive review of policy and procedures regarding transgender individuals. LPS already had policy in place with respect to searching and housing transgender prisoners, but an additional policy – Interactions with Transgender Persons – was created. The new policy includes information with respect to gender identity terminology, the proper use of pronouns and mandatory awareness training, to ensure all LPS policy and procedure remains best practice as cultural conditions evolve.
A video produced by the Vancouver Police Department called “Walk with Me” has now been delivered to all officers as part of the mandatory training to help enhance understanding of transgender issues and how police can best serve the transgender community. Walk with Me can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtwBgm8HEpM
Throughout the process police consulted with the original complainant as well as local LGBTQ groups and we are committed to continuing to work with the local LGBTQ community going forward.
The Lethbridge Police Commission, which is responsible for establishing policies that provide for efficient and effective policing, was also involved in overseeing the creation and implementation of the new policy and training. Members of Commission reviewed the “Walk with Me” training video before it was delivered to employees.
The Lethbridge Police Service is committed to providing a safe and inclusive community for all the citizens we serve.
**Chief Davis will be available for media interviews today at 10:30 a.m. at the police station. This will be the only opportunity for on-camera interviews**