Yesterday, US Department of Justice (DOJ) Associate Attorney General Tony West launched the Transgender Law Enforcement Training, a first-of-its kind cultural competency training by a federal agency for local law enforcement.
With input from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and other local and national organizations, the new training will help local authorities improve their interactions with transgender people. Ultimately, the training aims to prevent mistreatment and restore trust between police officers and transgender people who have often faced profiling and violence from law enforcement.
In the announcement, West said, “By helping us turn the page on these painful experiences, today’s training will help lay a stronger foundation of trust between LGBT communities that are disproportionately the victims of hate violence — particularly the transgender community – and those who are charged with the awesome responsibility of protecting and serving.”
“This is an important first step to begin to address the very real problems we see with law enforcement and the trans community across the country,” said Harper Jean Tobin, NCTE Director of Policy. “Make no mistake–training officers alone is not going to remedy a history of mistrust, misconceptions, profiling, and mistreatment. We urge departments to adopt clear policies of respect for transgender people’s identities in how they are addressed, searched, and held, protecting their dignity and prohibiting profiling. We urge communities to press for stronger oversight. And we urge DOJ to do more to back these efforts. For many communities, this training is one valuable tool in this larger project.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality urges local law enforcement to request this training with their regional DOJ Community Relations Service office. We encourage transgender advocates experienced in similar trainings to volunteer their time and expertise with regional CRS offices to help bring this training to their communities.