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« Chief Lanier addresses recent questions about GLLU | Main | Capehart: repealing DADT takes time, but patience is in short supply »

October 05, 2009

Rosenstein responds to Chief Lanier on GLLU

Peter Rosenstein responds to D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. I post this with his permission:

Dear Chief Lanier,

I was surprised to get this email from you today but appreciate that you have taken the time to send it to me. The problem I have is that it is not accurate, and you have yet to call a meeting of the GLBT community, or as far as I know meetings of the other groups impacted by the changes to the liaison units.

You are well aware that we worked with you two years ago in May 2007, as a unified community to support what you said were your eventual goals for expanding the GLLU Unit. What we did indicate to you then and we are even more aware of now, is that no matter your goal of all police officials acting in a professional way towards the various communities, that is still not happening. Your goal is a GREAT long term one which we concur with. Your actions in the short term however are hurting our community.

I have taken the liberty of responding below to the various points you have made in your email:

Peter D. Rosenstein

Peter's responses below are in all caps, interspersed with the text of Chief Lanier's email.

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.

(I HAVE NOT BEEN AWARE OF THIS AT ALL. YOUR PROMISE TWO YEARS AGO TO BEGIN TRAINING OFFICERS THROUGH THE GLLU TO GO OUT INTO THE PRECINCTS TO EXPAND THE UNIT IS A PROMISE YOU HAVE NOT KEPT. TO DATE NOT ONE OFFICER HAS BEEN TRAINED)

This roll out is now underway.

(I MUST QUESTION WHAT ROLLOUT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT SINCE I HAVE NEVER BEEN INFORMED OF ONE?)

As previously discussed, the first step was to move the SLU under the command of the Patrol Services Bureau, since the core of the expansion will be in Patrol.

(THE FIRST STEP THAT YOU TOLD US WAS GOING TO BE TRAINING OFFICERS. THERE CAN BE NO LEGITIMATE EXPANSION WITHOUT THOSE TRAINED MEN AND WOMEN)

As promised, I have left the core SLU Liaison Officers in a centralized location so they can coordinate citywide issues as we begin the expansion.

(THIS IS ANOTHER BROKEN PROMISE. WHEN YOU BECAME CHIEF WE MET WITH YOU IN A PRIVATE HOME AND YOU HEARD FROM A CROSS-SECTION OF THE COMMUNITY. AT THAT TIME YOU MADE A COMMITMENT TO HONOR THE MAYOR'S CAMPAIGN PROMISE TO KEEP THE CORE UNIT INTACT. AT THAT TIME THE CORE UNIT WAS SEVEN OFFICERS WITH A SERGEANT. TODAY THAT UNIT IS AT 4 OFFICERS, FOR MOST OF THE SUMMER ACTUALLY OPERATING WITH ONLY TWO, WITHOUT A FULLTIME SERGEANT. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE THE KIND OF SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITY THAT YOU COMMITTED TO. 24/7 RESPONSE TO THE NEEDS OF THE GLUT COMMUNITY WITH TRAINED OFFICERS)

The Central SLU will maintain a direct line of communication with A/C Groomes as well as my office. All of the calls to the duty pager are now received by the Lieutenant responsible for managing the centralized SLU, who then notifies the appropriate member if a response is required.

(THIS CLEARLY REMOVES WHAT WAS THE GREAT PROMISE OF THE GLLU, AND WHAT IT RECEIVED ITS AWARDS FOR, AND THAT WAS THAT PEOPLE COULD CONTACT THE UNIT DIRECTLY AND GET A RESPONSE FROM AN OFFICER WHO WAS UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR NEEDS. CLEARLY NOW IT WILL BE UP TO THIS LT. TO DECIDE IF THE CALL IS WORTHWHILE RESPONDING TOO. I KNOW OF NO ONE IN OUR COMMUNITY WHO HAS EVER HAD ANY DEALINGS WITH THE LT. AND YOU HAVE NEVER BOTHERED TO TRY TO ARRANGE SUCH A MEETING. IN ACTUALITY THE LAST FORMAL MEETING YOU AND THE MAYOR HAD WITH GLOV- WHICH THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY WAS KEPT OUT OF- YOU TALKED TO THEM ABOUT COMMUNICATION. CLEARLY YOU HAVEN'T COMMUNICATED ANYTHING TO THEM OR TO ME OR ANYONE ELSE I KNOW OF BEFORE YOU TOOK THESE LATEST ACTIONS. IN FACT THIS EMAIL IS THE FIRST COMMUNICATION I HAVE HAD FROM YOU ABOUT ANY OF THIS.)

No one has been prohibited from responding to a situation that demands a specialized liaison member.

There has been a lot of talk in reference to the perception that resources are being taken away from the GLLU, ALU, DHH and LLU. That is simply not true. Yes, we did eliminate the take home car program for these units, as we did more than 150 other take home cars. This was fiscally responsible given the economic situation our city and our Country are currently facing. These steps were necessary as we prioritize the most critical needs of the department when it comes to operating safely and efficiently.

(IF YOU FOUND IT NECESSARY FOR FINANCIAL REASONS TO TAKE AWAY THE ABILITY OF THE UNIT TO RESPOND BY TAKING THEIR CARS, A SIMPLE MEETING OF THE COMMUNITY WOULD HAVE BEEN APPROPRIATE TO EXPLAIN THAT AND DISCUSS IT. WHEN THE COMMUNITY FINDS OUT ABOUT THIS BY HAVING SOMEONE CALL THE UNIT AND BEING TOLD THEY CAN NO LONGER RESPOND ON CALL THAT ISN'T THE WAY TO BUILD TRUST OF WHAT YOU ARE CLAIMING YOU WANT TO DO.)

As you know, my philosophy about regaining the trust of the community is based not on just one or a handful of officers; it must be based on professionalism and mutual respect shown by all members of this Department. That cannot be accomplished without this expansion.

(WE HAVE ALL ALWAYS SUPPORTED THIS CONCEPT. BUT YOU KNOW AS WELL AS WE DO THAT MEMBERS OF YOUR DEPARTMENT ARE STILL OFTEN HOMOPHOBIC AND WHEN YOU TOLD US TWO YEARS AGO THAT YOU HAVE ALL THESE OPENLY GLUT MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT WE ASKED YOU TO INTRODUCE THEM TO US. WE DIDN'T GET INTRODUCTIONS BECAUSE THEY AREN'T THERE AND AS RECENTLY AS A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO ANTI-GAY LITERATURE WAS FOUND IN THE PATROL ONLY SECTION OF THE 5TH PRECINCT. SO WISHFUL THINKING ON ALL OUR PARTS WON'T MAKE PROFESSIONALISM AND MUTUAL RESPECT A REALITY AS MUCH AS WE WOULD ALL LIKE IT TOO.)

Rest assured, the roll out of this expansion is nothing more and nothing less than what we have discussed numerous times over the past year and the net result of this initiative will be better police service to everyone in the community.

(IN THE END IT IS INSULTING TO GET THIS EMAIL FROM YOU AND THE CLAIM THAT WE SHOULDN'T WORRY ALL WILL BE WELL. MANY OF US BENT OVER BACKWARDS TWO YEARS AGO WHEN YOU COMMITTED IN YOUR OWN WORDS A "ROOKIE MISTAKE" AND TRIED TO ABOLISH THE LIAISON UNITS. WE APPLAUDED YOU AND AND AGREED TO WORK WITH YOU. SINCE THAT TIME YOU HAVE MADE NO REAL EFFORT AT ALL TO WORK WITH US AND THIS RECENT CHANGE WITHOUT ANY WARNING TO THE COMMUNITY IS ANOTHER INDICATION OF THAT.

WE STILL WANT TO WORK WITH YOU BUT PRODUCTIVE FORWARD MOVEMENT IS A TWO WAY STREET. WITH HATE CRIMES A REAL ISSUE IN THE DISTRICT, WITH LACK OF RESPONSE FROM ANY LEADERS IN THE MAYOR'S OFFICE TO THIS OR ONGOING DISCUSSIONS WITH THE MPD, YOU SHOULDN'T BE SURPRISED THAT OUR TRUST IN YOU JUST ISN'T WHAT WE, AND I AM SURE YOU, WOULD LIKE IT TO BE. I STAND READY, AND I KNOW SO DOES GLOV, GLAA AND MANY OF THE LEADERS IN THE GLBT COMMUNITY ACROSS THIS CITY TO WORK WITH YOU WHEN YOU ARE READY TO WORK WITH US. TWO YEARS AGO WHEN MEETINGS WERE HELD ACROSS ALL THE WARDS I THINK YOU WERE SURPRISED AT THE UNITY OF THE GLBT COMMUNITY. WE ARE STILL UNIFIED AND WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CAN LIVE SAFE LIVES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA).

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