“After almost ten years of working in liaison units, I was ready to go back on patrol,” says Lt. Brett Parson of his 2009 departure as supervisor of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Liaison Unit, following seven years as supervisor for the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit. “I was ready to get back into responding to calls for service and pounding the pavement on a day-to-day basis.”
Primed for a change, Parson has returned to a role for which he’s both well known and admired in the LGBT community: He’ll serve as the supervisor of the Special Liaison Branch, overseeing the LGBT, Hispanic, Asian, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Liaison Units.
The SLB is meant to improve communication between the force and the communities its officers are sworn to serve. “We really have to walk that fine line between being enforcers and being advocates for the community,” notes Parson. “We want to be reaching out and helping people get improved service so that they feel safer.
“The expectation is that we should be visible where the community is and where the community feels safe. I would love some day for police officers to show up to any community event, uninvited, and for people not to look at them and go, ‘Oh, my God, what happened?’ I would like a day when we show up to these events and people smile, and open their arms, and hug the officers, and know the officers’ names.”
The MPD’s Special Liaison Division office is at Dupont Circle, 1369A Connecticut Ave. NW. The LGBT Liaison Unit can be reached at 202-506-0714. For more information, visit mpd.gov.
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