SDPD Adopts New Rules On Interactions With Transgender, Nonbinary Citizens
Speaker 1: 00:00 June is pride month across the country. And the San Diego police department has chosen this month to unveil a new list of procedures for its interactions, with transgender and non-binary individuals, the guidelines range from making sure police use the proper pronouns and addressing members of the public to ensuring that transgender individuals have access to their medications while in police custody. Joining me is the San Diego police department's LGBTQ liaison officer Christine Garcia, officer Garcia, welcome to the Speaker 2: 00:30 Program. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate being here Speaker 1: 00:34 A couple of the highlights in that intro of this new department policy. What are some other changes that you think are especially important? Speaker 2: 00:41 Yeah, so there's lots of changes that are addressed in this policy and procedure. One thing that was important that you mentioned was, um, how to address the community. So it is a combination with training that we're conducting within the San Diego police department. Um, our San Diego police officers have all received LGBT, uh, Q training since 1986. However, we saw that there was a need to give some update training, right? So the training that occurred in 1986 is going to be different than the what's required and needed nowadays. So it would be have all of our officers, uh, including officers from around the County who are attending, um, what's called advanced officer training. It's a T for short, and that is mandatory training that each officer has to go through every two years. And this AOT cycle, we have decided to add in three hours of LGBT update training. Speaker 2: 01:34 And along with that training came the policy and procedure, and that is how to address, uh, the LGBT community, specifically the transgender and gender non-binary community, because, you know, within society, sometimes non-binary can be such a relatively new thing that people don't really know what the pronouns are for it. So it addresses the pronoun usage for our non binary community and our transgender community, um, spells out to the officers how they should be treating and respecting our community as well as strictly prohibit some prima facia evidence that, uh, some of the community was concerned about such as using somebody's transgender status to believe that they're involved in sex work. So that was added in there. So that way we can make sure that no officers are doing not. And then all the way to Pat down searches, looking at of a transgender individual, including, uh, filling out the police report and making sure that that continuum of treatment is carried through even through to the police report. So that way anybody who hits up the police report a detective, a district attorney, a defense attorney, anybody can pick up that report and continue using the proper pronouns with that individual. I'm glad Speaker 1: 02:42 You mentioned the Pat downs and, um, and some of the other guidelines, because some of them, I found rather surprising. Uh, one of these says, officers cannot conduct a search or Pat down solely for the purpose of determining a person's anatomical sex. And some, uh, another, as you mentioned says, you know, gender expression can not be used as evidence that this person is engaged in prostitution. Were these actual problems and w is that why SDPD decided to write them down in an official policy? Speaker 2: 03:11 Well, I had not seen that the sex work portion was an actual problem within the San Diego police department. However, there is a number of the community that does believe that that problem exists within the San Diego police department and that, um, anecdotal data presented to them, um, through individual lived experiences, they felt that that was occurring. So we went ahead and added it into our policy and procedure to make sure that if that is occurring, um, that can be strictly prohibited and dealt with as far as the gowns and searches of an individuals, transgender that Pat down or search will be conducted in accordance with that person's gender identity, not their genitalia. In fact, most of the policy prohibits the officer from even asking questions about their genitalia anymore. So I'll give you a little background. The San Diego County Sheriff's department is responsible for housing of transgender individuals when they are booked into jail. Speaker 2: 04:05 Um, in October, 2019, the San Diego County Sheriff's department changed its procedure in housing, according to gender identity, instead of sex, because that's what used to happen for a very long time. We have since updated our policy and procedure to make sure that we are not only recognizing that person's gender identity, but bringing them to the facility, which corresponds with their gender identity. So no more do we have to ask the genitalia question and bring that person to a facility which matches their sex. And if we don't know about their gender, um, there's no reason to conduct Pat downs for searches, uh, to confirm any type of gender because gender and sex are two completely different aspects to who somebody is. And that also goes along with part of our training, right? Which is the difference between sex, gender orientation, and also expression, how you put that together and express yourself trans Speaker 1: 05:00 And non-binary folks can be witnesses to crimes. Uh, they can be suspects, and of course they can be victims. And I should explain for our listeners, for anyone who's not familiar with the term, non-binary refers to people who identify as neither male nor female. What is the goal of putting these guidelines into official policy? Speaker 2: 05:18 You know, I'll, I'll be quite honest with you. I do take the policy a little personal, and the reason why is because I'm, I, myself am a transgender woman. I came out as transgender in 2015 and, um, transition on the department after working on the apartment for eight years as male law enforcement is something that I've always enjoyed and loved and having a family within law enforcement and a family within the LGBT community. I want to make sure that our officers, my other siblings are respecting my other siblings on the other side, right? So I want to make sure that, that our law enforcement is treating our communities with dignity. And, and it's not just the LGBT community, but it's all communities, um, are people of color or LGBT community doesn't matter what your religious background is or, um, or identity. Um, we want to make sure that all of our police officers are respecting our communities at all times, and there's a different aspect to the transgender and gender non binary community, right? It's not so cut and dry. And we knew that a purse teacher in, uh, helping the officers conduct those interactions respectfully, and then also a procedure to hold officers accountable for when those procedures are violated. Um, we recognize the need for that, and then training to go along with it. Speaker 1: 06:38 How were these new guidelines developed? Speaker 2: 06:40 So we have, what's called a chief's advisory board. Um, and it's the community stakeholders, uh, within the LGBT community that come and meet with our chief, uh, by yearly. And they discuss some of the issues that are going on within the community. Um, they brought forth the idea of having these policy and procedures actually back in 2014, um, where then Lieutenant Dan Meyer was, uh, the LGBT liaison before I even came out as transgender. And he actually developed a, uh, a list of procedures for interactions with the transgender community. And that was released on a training bulletin back in 2014. So we had current standing policy and procedure, but when we reviewed it as the advisory board, we saw that it was slightly outdated. Things have kind of changed within the community. And so what we did was we added the language for non-binary and in there. And then also, um, just brought some of the terminology up to today's standard. And then we also changed it into a full fledged procedure instead of a training bulletin. Um, so that way it's, it's permanently on file. Um, it can never expire and it's, it's there for the officer's viewing. Speaker 1: 07:49 Where would you say San Diego falls in the speed or willingness to adopt these guidelines? Have other departments come and done this well before us, are we on the cutting edge edge? Speaker 2: 08:01 Well, um, I'm not really too sure which department developed their own procedures first, but I know that the city of San Francisco police department has had a set of policy and procedures for the last decade or so. Um, and there's also been other police departments along the last few years that have solely been adopting, um, new policy and procedures with the interaction of the transgender community. You know, I'll be quite honest, we're, we're a little late in the game getting it out there, but, uh, the great thing about it is, is, is we have it out there. It's now been published. It was, uh, we, we wanted it done as quick as possible. I saw through to its success, um, into getting published. So we're doing really good with the training and the policy procedure that we've implemented. Speaker 1: 08:45 I've been speaking with Christine Garcia, LGBTQ liaison officer for the San Diego police department and officer Garcia. Thank you. Thank you very much for having me.