Deputy Mayor Paul Quander and Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier met with members of and advocates for the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) community yesterday to brief them on the formation of a task force to assess the Metropolitan Police Department’s outreach efforts and partnerships with various communities in the city and its investigation and reporting of hate crimes. Task force members include the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Equality, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, and two of the nation’s leading academic experts on the causes and impact of hate violence, Professor Jack McDevitt of Northeastern University and Professor Jim Nolan of West Virginia University.
“The District of Columbia is open and welcoming to people of all nations, races, sexual orientation, and gender identity,” said Deputy Mayor Quander. “We want all individuals – whether they are people in those communities or those who might commit a hate crime – to know that intolerance and hate crimes have no place in our vibrant city.”
In December 2011, Chief Lanier asked ADL, a national leader on the issue of hate crimes, to assist the Department by conducting an impartial review of MPD’s programs, comparing them with programs in other departments in the nation, and identifying any areas that might be strengthened. The ADL has assembled this small group of national civil rights organizations, advocacy groups and recognized academic authorities with involvement and experience on the issues of community engagement and hate crimes to donate their time to this effort.
“We appreciate that the members of the task force are willing to dedicate their time to support the District on this important issue,” noted Chief Lanier. “The Metropolitan Police Department and the members of the task force share a strong commitment to working with communities to strengthen police-community relations and combat violence of all kinds, including hate crimes.”
The task force will carry out its work in two phases. The first phase will focus on outreach and response to the LGBT community. The second phase will examine how MPD works with other groups in the community. Phase one will begin immediately, with the assessment task force interviews and meetings with LGBT community members and activists over the next month.