DOJ Releases Video That Teaches Cops How to Interact With Transgender People

The Department of Justice released a new police training video Thursday that demonstrates how to have “respectful, professional, and safe” interactions with members of the transgender community.

The 12-minute video was created with the goal of improving relations between law enforcement and the LGBT community in the hope of reducing cases of alleged discrimination. It presents a range of scenarios that show how officers should respond when they encounter an individual who identifies as transgender.

“When someone’s name or gender on a license is different than what you expect, how do you react? Is this person committing identify theft? Are they a fugitive? Possibly they are just transgender,” Cpl. Evan Baxter of Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department explains in the clip.

In such instances, police are encouraged to ask the individual, “Do you prefer if I call you ma’am or sir?”

“Hey, I don’t have to be in the room to know what just happened. Someone snickered, laughed or made a joke,” the narrator addresses viewers after “Scenario 1” in the video. “Trust me, I know; I’m a cop, too. As police officers, we use humor to deal with things that make us feel uncomfortable or afraid […] To outsiders, it’s perceived as unprofessional and disrespectful.”

A subsequent scenario in the video demonstrates what an officer should do in cases involving a transgender person using a restroom that corresponds to the opposite sex. In the video, a mother with a baby calls 911 after encountering a man in the woman’s restroom.

“I was in the restroom but I’m a woman,” the man tells the officer. The officer then apologizes and leaves with no further questions asked.

The clip stresses the importance of remaining courteous and keeping questions relevant to the situation in question.

“Transgender Americans, like all Americans, deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect by law enforcement officers,” Paul Monteiro, acting director of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service said in a press release. “The information provided in this video will help strengthen the relationship between police and the transgender community, allowing for more effective investigations and safer encounters for officers and citizens alike.”


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