FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth Police Department has launched a new effort to make inroads with the city’s gay community.
It is the latest attempt to mend a dept rift between the city’s officers and the LBGT community following the 2009 police raid of the Rainbow Lounge. Two people were injured in the incident and it sparked several police protests. Five years later, the department’s approach has changed and a new video meant to help recruit gay officers is the latest sign of that.
The video features Fort Worth Police Detective Chris Gorrie and is intended to help recruit a more diverse group of officers.
“You may be asking yourself what this 30-year-old white guy has to do with diversity,” jokes Gorrie in the playful video. “Well, the short answer is, I’m gay.”
“People don’t generally associate police officers with being gay,” Gorrie adds. “It’s kind of a macho man job. Some people might not feel that they fit in.”
However, Gorrie says his sexual preference is not an issue, and that’s the message the department hopes the video will get across.
“We want to reflect the population of the City of Fort Worth. We have LGBT citizens. We need LGBT officers,” said Corporal Tracey Knight, who is the department’s designated liaison to the LGBT community. As a gay officer herself, she’s seen drastic changes since the department’s controversial raid of Rainbow Lounge.
“The sheer fear that the patrons had on their face. It was the fear… not only could you see it, you could smell it,” recalls Raymond Gill, who witnessed the raid.
At the time, gay patrons accused Fort worth Police and the TABC of targeting them. Since then the department’s adoption of same sex partner benefits, diversity training for officers, and general LGBT outreach has helped repair the once broken relationship.
“When we see a police officer now, we see strength, honor, protection, safety,” said Gill.
The video series posted on the department’s YouTube channel will showcase a variety of officers. The department hopes this effort helps attract a larger, more diverse pool of applicants.
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