Metro Weekly

Questions and Answers

Mayor's office hosts open house to address community concerns on police plans for GLLU

Local gay activist Peter Rosenstein doesn’t trust Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

He didn’t feel that way two years ago when Lanier shared with him, and the larger GLBT community, her vision to expand the city’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit’s (GLLU) services beyond its Dupont Circle headquarters.

”We basically said, ‘We love that idea,”’ Rosenstein recalls reacting to Lanier’s plan to train officers from all of the city’s police districts in GLLU services.

”We all walked away from that meeting, thinking, wow, that’s great. Well between May of 2007 and now, not one person was trained,” Rosenstein says. ”She has admitted that.”

The GLLU has in fact gotten smaller.

”When Adrian Fenty came into office there was seven people and a sergeant in the unit,” Rosenstein says. ”Today there are four people and a part-time sergeant.”

That reduction caught the attention of City Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who in a letter to Lanier, dated Oct. 8, stated: ”This trend is particularly disappointing given where we were just two years ago when the GLLU was being recognized as a national model for community policing and very much appreciated by all of us in the LGBT community.”

”We are going in the wrong direction,” Graham concluded.

A few weeks after Lt. Brett Parson announced his return to patrolling, Lanier wrote to Rick Rosendall of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance and Rosenstein assuring them that her plan to expand the GLLU is underway.

”As you are aware, for over a year we have been preparing to roll out our expanded Special Liaison Units (SLU) to all divisions within the department — beginning with the Patrol Services Bureau. This roll out is now underway,” Lanier wrote in her Oct. 5 letter.

The Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs is giving Rosenstein and others an opportunity to ask questions about the GLLU ”roll out” in person, during a GLLU Open House, at 6:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in the Edna Frazier Community Room of the Reeves Center, at 2000 14th St. NW.

Lanier will not be fielding questions, however. Instead, Assistant Chief Diane Groomes will be responding.

Before that event, Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence is meeting with the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) at 6 p.m., on Nov. 5., for a community forum, at Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th St. NW.

Chris Farris, co-chair of GLOV, says he will use that opportunity to ask about Robert Hannah’s six-month jail term for his involvement in the death of a local gay man, Tony Randolph Hunter.

”I’m hoping that the prosecutor who handled the case will be there. But if not, other representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be there. That will be a really good opportunity for questions regarding how that case was handled.”

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