Progress on Commitments Made to the LGBTQ+ Community by the Sacramento Police Department
During Sacramento Pride 2019, a public debate regarding the Sacramento Police Department’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community prompted a set of commitments to action. Since then, the Center met multiple times and had many conversations with Sac PD to build trust, advocate for our community, and following through with our promise to community members to hold the Department accountable to their commitments. These interactions have resulted in the following progress:
Commitment 1: Community Advisory Committee
Establish a standing LGBTQ Community Advisory Committee to examine and recommend policies and practices that improve service delivery to the LGBTQ community, and remove barriers for LGBTQ individuals, especially for transgender individuals, to safely and effectively engage with law enforcement.
Status of Commitment 1: In 2019, the Center provided advice to the Sacramento Police Department on creating a community advisory committee that included a transparent formation process, inclusive composition, establishing clear goals, and City support for its continuous operation. Absent the formation of this committee, stakeholders and community members were invited to join an ad hoc committee organized by the Center that reviewed best practices from around the country and compiled a draft policy on interactions with transgender and gender diverse people that was submitted to the Sacramento Police Department for consideration at the end of May 2020. In January of 2021, Sac PD announced a new Community Advisory Committee was forthcoming and as of mid-2021, we became aware that it was in formation. The composition, goals, level of City support, and current status have not been made publicly available by Sac PD.
Commitment 2: New Officer Training
Co-create an LGBTQ-focused community engagement training for all new officers that elevates the voices of marginalized LGBTQ community members and discusses the role of implicit bias.
Status of Commitment 2: Center staff observed two sessions of Sac PD’s internally developed new officer training program and provided extensive feedback on curriculum. Center staff also provided best practice materials for consideration. Sac PD has subsequently implemented changes to their training based on our feedback. The Center also additionally requested that officers receive more advanced training in subsequent years and that training curriculum be posted online for community transparency.
Commitment 3: Community Forums
Organize ongoing LGBTQ community forums that include the Chief of Police, the Executive Director or board president of the Center, LGBTQ police officers, and interested LGBTQ community members.
Status of Commitment 3: In early 2020, the Center hosted a series of Community Healing Circles facilitated by Everyday Impact Consulting that were open to the public and intended to promote a place of understanding and reconciliation first in our community, before directly addressing tensions with law enforcement. The Healing Circles provided opportunity for radical healing and care for our communities and the bridging inter-generational LGBTQ+ leaders in Sacramento by engaging in difficult conversations about life experiences, understanding perceived differences in our world views, and creating opportunities for diverse groups of people to achieve things together.
In November of 2020 the Sacramento Police Department held a virtual community town hall specifically for the LGBTQ+ community to express their concerns directly to the department. More than 50 people attended and began to authentically share their experiences with police. A second Sac PD virtual town hall was held in February 2021 with Chief Daniel Hahn and a number of Sacramento Police Department officials where they presented what the department is doing and has planned for the future as well as addressing a limited number of questions.
Commitment 4: Enhanced LGBTQ Liaison Position
Enhance LGBTQ representation in the Department’s outreach unit to include an LGBTQ Liaison Officer. Along with the community, the liaison will advocate and assist in updating and creating policies, procedures, and track current laws as well as state and national LGBTQ community trends.
Status of Commitment 4: In July of 2019, Sac PD posted on their website the assignment of three liaison officers who will focus on 1) Sergeant Michele Gigante–Training and Policy, 2) Sergeant Eddie Maccaulay–Outreach, Education, and recruitment, and 3) Officer Debrielle Browder–Outreach, Education, and Youth. The liaisons were introduced to the community at Sac PD’s 2021 virtual town hall. On the issue of uniformed officers at Pride, before the pandemic Sac PD also agreed to engage solely in a security support role at Sacramento Pride 2020 and not have an official contingent in the Pride March or Festival.
Commitment 5: Center Complaint/Reporting Program
Establish a program within the Center for community members to report crimes and/or complaints to the Department in an accurate, timely, and affirming manner.
Status of Commitment 5: After thorough research and a review of best practices, the Center launched a new Hate and Bias Incident Reporting Form on its website in December 2021. This form is intended to provide a community friendly mechanism for people to report incidents of hate, bias, discrimination, or complaints of police violence. With this information, Center staff can follow up with the individuals involved to provide support, track incident data, provide assistance in filing reports with law enforcement and act as an advocate and liaison on behalf of victims.
In November of 2020, the Center announced its next steps to support racial justice including the Board of Directors’ approval of an internal policy to no longer allow armed, uniformed law enforcement officers at Center facilities or events (including Sacramento Pride), unless as a last resort or in a true emergency, and as otherwise required by law or permitting regulation. In a letter to the City Manager and Council, the Center also requested that the City change its regulations to allow alternatives to police vehicles and personnel for street closures for special events on Capital Mall. No response was provided by the City and the continued cancellation of in-person Pride events due to the pandemic has delayed further discussions.
In the absence of a community advisory committee supported by the City, the Center established an ad-hoc working group that researched and drafted a new proposed policy regarding Interactions with Transgender and Gender Expansive individuals, which was submitted to Sac PD for consideration and adoption in May of 2020. This policy was mentioned by Sac PD at their February, 2021 virtual town hall, but has not been implemented. In the fall of 2021, the Center began working with the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission to establish an LGBTQ+ sub-committee of the Commission to help advance this policy and advocate for other policy and practice changes within the Sacramento Police Department. This collaboration is ongoing.
Since 2019, the Center has also been advocating for policy and practice changes within Sac PD including more inclusive data collection and reporting with regard to online police reports, complaint forms, and the community trust survey, which Sac PD plans to conduct annually according to their website. As of June 2020, none of the requested changes have been made.