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Law Enforcement and the Transgender Community – CRS Roll Call Training Video

Law Enforcement and the Transgender Community – CRS Roll Call Training Video


[Historic photos gather
to form CRS logo] [Opening music plays] [Police siren sounds] [NARRATOR SGT. BRETT PARSON]
Your safety as an officer is always the first priority. However, in order to be safe and
effective, officers must be able to distinguish between a
threat and a stereotype. Under emergency circumstances,
events always determine an officer’s response. This presentation deals
only with non-emergency and non-crisis situations. Driver’s license and
registration please. Yes, officer. Is this your most
current identification? Yes it is.
It needs to be updated. Do you prefer if I call you
ma’am or sir? Ma’am, please. Ma’am, do you know why
I stopped you here today? No, officer. The reason I stopped you is you
have a tail light out on the right side. Oh. Wait right here while
I verify your information. Yes, officer. [Indistinct police radio chatter] [Police cruiser door closes] All right, Ma’am. I’ll just be issuing you a
warning here today. Just make sure to get that
tail light fixed as soon as possible. Yes, sir, officer.
Thank you. You’re welcome.
Drive safe. Hey, I don’t have to be in the room with
you to know what probably just happened. Somebody just snickered,
laughed or made a joke. Trust me, I know.
I’m a cop, too. As police officers we
use humor to deal with things that make us
uncomfortable or afraid. We’re human, and we know
we mean no harm. It’s our way of coping. But we have to admit it.
To outsiders, its perceived as unprofessional
and disrespectful. Remember, you never get a second
chance to make a first impression. If someone feels disrespected, they’re
less likely to trust us or cooperate. Now, the previous scenario
demonstrated a common way that many police officers come into contact with members of the
transgender community. That officer handled it perfectly
by asking clarifying questions that were relevant to his
contact, respectful, and professional. The driver felt respected
and cooperated, leading to an effective
and safe encounter. Let’s start with some basics.
Terminology. We need to take a closer look
at three basic terms and the distinct differences
between how we define them. They are: Assigned Sex,
Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity. Assigned Sex is also known as birth sex. It refers to the biological or
physiological designation as male or
female at birth, usually based on anatomy. Transgender individuals are
people whose internal feelings of being male or female are not
consistent with their assigned sex. Now, it’s estimated that about
seven hundred thousand transgender individuals live
in the United States. They can be found
in every walk of life, including law enforcement. Sexual Orientation refers
to a person’s physical and/or emotional attraction to
people of a specific gender. It refers to who someone loves,
feels attracted to, or with whom they desire to
have an intimate relationship. Heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian
are all types of sexual orientations. Every person has an internal,
psychological Gender Identity, a sense of who they feel
they are in terms of gender, even if it’s not consistent
with their assigned sex. Gender Identity is best
viewed as a broad spectrum with stereotypical masculine male
being at one end and stereotypical feminine female
being at the other end. Some people identify at
many points along that spectrum Not just at the extreme ends. Just a few more
tips to help you. You may hear the term “transgender
male” or “transgender female.” Now, simply put, these terms refer to
transgender individuals and describe the gender they are presenting
and/or transitioning to. You may also see or hear the
terms “male to female”, or “M to F”, or “female to male”,
“F to M”. They mean exactly
what they say. It identifies a
transgender individual by stating to which gender they are
presenting and/or transitioning. Lastly, the term “trans” is
often used by some as shorthand to refer to transgender individuals or,
by and large, the transgender community. While it may be acceptable to some,
the safest term to use is the entire word, “transgender.” When in doubt, it’s always best to ask
an individual what their preference is. Just simply ask, “How would
you like to be addressed?” Using the correct, or preferred
pronouns demonstrates respect and lets the individual know that you’re
knowledgeable about their community, which is both reassuring, and shows
you are a true professional. If you remember to keep
your questions relevant to the investigation or contact, respectful,
and professional you should be fine, and experience a safer,
cooperative encounter. When someone’s name or
gender on a license is different from what you expect,
how do you react? Is this person committing
identity theft, are they a fugitive? Possibly they’re just transgender. Officer safety always comes
first, but as long as I can tell it’s the same person on a
photo ID, I don’t get distracted. I just focus on the task in front
of me, and on courtesy, and respect, and if you’re not certain what the proper
way to address someone is, just ask. [Knock on door] Prince George’s County Police. Yes, come in, please. Hi. I’m Corporal Burks.
This is Officer Salvestrini. Hi sir.
Hi Ma’am. What can we help you with today? Well, I was walking down
the block and I noticed a man not
too far behind me. After a few blocks I
noticed he was following me.
He started yelling things. Just words that I
really don’t want to repeat. It’s- I really don’t feel safe
walking in my neighborhood. OK, have you had anybody take a
look at the injury on your neck? Not yet. I did call my doctor, but I’m
not going to be seeing him til tomorrow. [CPL. BURKS]
OK, good. I’m going to have
Officer Salvestrini take the report. Do you have an ID or drivers license?
It just makes it a little easier. I do, I do. There you are. Sir, what were you doing? Can you excuse us for a moment?
Just step over here for a minute. Sal, what are you doing? Don’t let the fact that she’s
transgender throw you off, OK. Show her the respect that she deserves. You’re right.
I’m sorry. OK, so let’s show her that
we’re a professional agency and we’ll go back out there and
we can start from the beginning. OK. All right, come on. I want to apologize
about before. How would you like me to
address you, Sir or Ma’am? Oh, thank you for asking,
and Ma’am will be fine. Ma’am, great. Thanks. Could you tell me a little bit
more about this person? One in four transgender individuals
reports that they have been the victim of an assault, a hate crime,
because of who they are. There’s a perception among
many transgender people that the police won’t take a crime
against them seriously. That they’ll actually blame
the victim for looking or dressing or being
the way they are. And in recent surveys, some
transgender people have reported that they have been assaulted
by police officers. Many transgender women,
if they’re on the street at night, actually fear getting
stopped for something we call “Walking While Trans.”
The assumption by officers is that they’re soliciting,
but they might just be hanging out or
waiting for a ride. Just being transgender isn’t
a reason to suspect a crime. So, as you can see, there’s an
enormous need to repair this trust. As officers, it’s our responsibility
to show courtesy and respect and approach each new situation
on the basis of doing our jobs and not making assumptions
until we have the information we need to
make the right call. You know, so many
women and people in the transgender community
just see law enforcement as a non-ally. Things like transgender
while walking, you know. Just because I’m a transgender,
you see me as a criminal, or a commercial sex worker. There’s just not trust in
law enforcement, and that’s due to past treatments of
us as a community. Well, I think the police need
to have an understanding of what it means to be transgender. Have an understanding that I
am not just a man with a wig on. We’re human.
We’re just like everybody else. I think if police could understand that,
that we’re no different, a wall would be removed.
A barrier would be removed towards better communication
and better relationships. …it’s, 9AM, got slammed
with a pop quiz, but, I feel like I actually
did it really well. Oh, cool. All right, well, I have to
use the restroom, OK? OK. I’ll be right back. Yes, hi. Um, I’d like to make a report
of what I think was a man in the ladies’ bathroom. OK. I’m back. Sorry, just finishing up
an outline for a paper. That’s OK. What time is
your next class? I have until 3:30. Oh, cool. Morning.
Did you call the police? I did. I think I saw a man
walk in to the ladies’ bathroom, and I don’t know what he’s doing there. Other than being in the restroom,
did the individual do anything to raise your concerns? No, I just don’t think he belongs
there, and he’s making me nervous. Can you tell me what the
individual looked like? …I’m majoring in
business administration. Oh, wow. How about you? Political Science. Cool. Is it hard? It’s– Some classes are really hard Excuse me.
Do you have a minute? Yes, I do. Hi, I’m Corporal Dadzie with the
Prince Georges County Police Department, and the reason I’m here
is because we got a complaint in regards to a gentleman
using the wrong restroom. Were you in the restroom? Yes, officer, but I’m a woman,
I was just in there using the restroom. Was there anyone else
in the restroom with you? No, I was in there alone. Officer, we’re just having lunch. Again, I’m sorry for the
inconvenience. I apologize. Probably a misunderstanding.
You both have a great day. Thank you. As you probably already know,
the key to any interaction is to be respectful, relevant and professional. If officers understand who
transgender people are as a part of their community,
interactions can go a whole lot better. Starting a dialogue and engaging
proactively with transgender community members and
community groups will be extremely helpful to
your department now and in the future. Now, your state or department
may have specific laws or policies on interacting
with transgender individuals. They may specify, for example,
that if a search is required officers should ask the person
if they would prefer a male or a female officer to
conduct that search. If your department does not
have a policy on issues like communicating with or
searching transgender individuals, you may want to
consider developing one with the help of
community organizations. For policies on transgender
people in custody, agencies can consult
resources from the National Institute
of Corrections and the Prison Rape Elimination
Act resource center. Transgender people are just
trying to be their true selves, and live their lives as members
of our communities, just like anyone else. As law enforcement officers
we must make every effort to collaborate and learn
from the transgender community so we can better serve others
today and in the future. Now these scenarios only cover
some of the common interactions between police officers
and transgender people. So, take a look at your
department and your policies. Decide what can be done
on your side to protect everyone We know with this knowledge,
you will be able to approach any situation with the
professionalism, relevance and respect all people in this great
country deserve. Thank you and be safe [Closing music plays]

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