Providence, RI – Mayor Elorza, Commissioner Paré and Colonel Clements announce a continuation of the partnership between the Providence Police Department, The Rhode Island Commission on Prejudice & Bias, the Sojourner House, and the Providence Human Relations Commission (PHRC) to train all sworn members of the Providence Police Department in LGBTQ-inclusive polices and best practices. Officers who graduated from the 68th Providence Police Training Academy have previously received this training while in the academy and the remainder of the department will be trained by the end of the month of February.
“Specialized training allows the Providence Police Department to constantly evolve to better protect the communities they serve,” said Mayor Elorza. “By expanding the LGBTQ Inclusive Training we are reaffirming our belief that every community member should feel safe and welcomed in Providence. The curriculum that will be presented to officers aligns with the community policing approach that has been transformative in our neighborhoods.”
The Providence Police Department has identified the need to train all officers in the cultural competency and de-escalation initiatives to improve relations between the PPD and the broadly diverse community, including the LGBTQ community. Officers will become familiar with LGBTQ issues including language and terms, learn about LGBTQ history, to include a look into the past relationship between the LGBTQ community and police as well as present-day interactions, how to communicate effectively with the LGBTQ community, best practices that are being implemented throughout the country, and about resources available to support the LGBTQ community in Rhode Island. The training has been funded by an award granted to the department by The Foundation to Promote Open Society (“FPOS”)
“The implementation of this curriculum will give our officers enhanced awareness related to the concerns that the LGBTQ community in Providence face every day,” said Colonel Clements. “Creating all-inclusive policies and providing training to our officers is imperative in 21st century policing.”
“At the heart of Sojourner House’s mission is to provide culturally sensitive support and education, especially around issues related to our community’s most underserved, including the LGBTQ community. We are honored to have worked with Providence Police for almost two years to improve relationships between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community and to educate police about the unique issues faced by the LGBTQ community in Rhode Island. We look forward to providing this important training to the Providence Police Department and to our continued work together.” Vanessa Volz, Executive Director, Sojourner House
Dr. Jodi L. Glass, AuD, Coordinator of the RI Commission on Prejudice & Bias, organized the partnership of the above-mentioned organizations in response to the horrific attacks at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL. Dr. Glass’s intention is to help the LGBTQ community feel at ease when in the presence of law enforcement out in the community.
“We know that the LGBTQ communities are at greater risk of experiencing victimization. The training, education, support, and conversations that this partnership and training provides will help to create a community that is safer for all of its members,” said Dr. Glass.