Indio Police are adding a new level of community policing to their resumes during a two-day training session to help them better assist LGBT victims on their day to day shifts.
Officers are learning everything from correct terminology and identifiers when working with the Transgender community as well as how to approach a victim who may be fearful of his or her safety because of their sexual orientation.
In the heat of the moment, communication between police and victims can be crucial to the investigation but for the LGBT community, fear sometimes prevents that from happening. The Indio Police Department is looking to change that.
"They can break down those barriers and begin to relate to victims," said Sgt. Dan Marshall with Indio Police. "Who do you identify with? that’s ok. How do you want to be referred to? that’s ok"
Marshall is referring to the transgender community where pronouns are key to connecting with victims who may be vulnerable.
"We want victims to know that irrespective of where they’re at in their life, that the police, they can come to them and report a crime, report if they’ve been a victim," said Marshall.
Thomi Clinton with the Transgender Community Coalition, goes to police departments across the state and it’s not only adults she’s helping police protect.
"Sexual violence against lgbt youth as well and to train the officers on how to identify that so the children are safe," said Clinton.
She also mentions a key tool in keeping officers safe when dealing with suspects who may have HIV.
"It’s about a 97 percent or more efficiency to protect a person from hiv infection," said Clinton.
She’s referring to the little blue pill called Truvada, widely used in the gay community to protect from HIV transmission which could come in handy with police officers who come in contact with infected objects or individuals.
"We need to protect ourselves. The needle sticks, the biting, the spitting…any of that stuff that’s a daily thing officers need to take precautions against,"said Marshall.
Add that to a long list of things, officers do daily but they do it because they’re there to protect the community.