UNCCPD opens arms to LGBTQ community through Safe Zone training – Department aims to make LGBTQs at UNCC feel more secure knowing their officers have better understanding of their community

This summer, UNC Charlotte Police Chief, Jeff Baker mandated Safe Zone training for his entire department.

Safe Zone is an organization which was started to “develop, enhance and maintain environments in workplaces, schools and other social settings that are culturally competent and supportive to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) individuals, as well as straight, cisgender people who care about diversity, equality and inclusion,” as written on the organization’s webpage.

Training took place over the summer in conjunction with the department’s state mandated in-service training because there were far fewer students on campus; therefore fewer officers were needed on patrol.

Training was received by Safe Zone instructor, Joshua Burford.  Burford is not only a UNC Charlotte professor, but also has also been a Safe Zone instructor for many years.

“He’s been teaching this for several years and he said he’s not aware of any police department that’s engaged with the LGBTQ community in this fashion. And I wanted to make sure we were,” said Baker.

Baker also noted that part of what encouraged him to mandate training was the recent event that occurred on the campus of nearby Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). The event which occurred happened earlier this year when a transgender student shared that she was harassed and detained by campus security guards. It was reported that when she later tried going to administration, she received little or no response.

In addition to the department’s recent completion of Safe Zone training, UNC Charlotte offers a variety of classes through the Multicultural Resource Center which acclimates students, faculty and staff to the LGBTQ community. Programs such as Safe Chapter Training, Safe Zone 2.0 and Friendly Peer Training are held monthly and are organized to accommodate specific purposes throughout the LGBTQ community.

“We want to make sure that our LGBTQ community knows that the police department is a safe place for them to come to if they are ever afraid or have any issues or anything like that then they can come here. Also, if we’re in the field and somebody is under stress and needs assistance, they know they can come to the police. It’s to help them feel more comfortable and also provide safety for them as well.”

Read more here: http://nineronline.com/2014/09/unccpd-opens-arms-to-lgbtq-community-through-safe-zone-training/
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