Price said the committee meets with the commissioner a few times a year to update him on the latest happenings within the LGBT community.
“We basically we want to see if there is anything we could do for him or anything that we should bring to his attention, such as sensitivity training and diversity training and topics like that, because he is the one that has a final say in all of that,” Price said.
The committee reviewed organizational changes it developed during its February retreat, which includes the launch of four subcommittees: governance, communication and media relations, outreach and events and training and speakers bureau. The organization also reworked its mission and further fleshed out its goals.
The group also looked at recent crime statistics in the Sixth District and discussed the need for residents to be more vigilant with locking their properties.
Officer Joe Ferraro said there have been multiple burglaries within the district and stressed the importance of locked doors.
“If you live in an apartment building, make sure it is secure at the front door, because once they get inside of your building, [the police] are hard-pressed to get inside,” he said.
Ferraro said police were sent out to see how many buildings they could gain access to in the area, with officers breaching 20 different buildings.
“We would have had access to the entire building,” he said. “If a front door is broken, make sure that it gets fixed because that will help out.”
Although there has been an influx of burglaries in the area, officers have been able to lift prints from many scenes, Ferraro added. Bike thefts have also been an issue, and officers have been able to catch career criminals by implementing a number of bike set-ups.
Officer Robert Ryan told the committee about the officer recruitment that started running this month, adding he hopes to engage interest from the LGBT community. The first week of the recruitment campaign garnered interest from 400 possible applicants.
Ryan said the department had its first-ever out transgender applicant last year and worked with Gloria Casarez, director of the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs, to ensure the individual felt comfortable throughout the application process.
Committee member and District Attorney’s Office LGBT liaison Nellie Fitzpatrick said the committee is looking into moving up its LGBT sensitivity training to before the police cadets complete their training process, and hopes to create a video presentation to be shown to current officers at roll call.
“We want to do something where it is a real, recognized and controlled training and make it so it is recognized not only in Philadelphia but statewide,” Fitzpatrick said. “We want to show how police and the LGBT community can interact together. We are the ones that can show the rest of the state and country how it can be done.”
Ramsey said the committee could work with new department strategic-communications director Denise James to create a training video.
The need for LGBT-specific hate-crimes legislation was also addressed, with Price citing a number of local incidents in whcih individuals believed they were victims of a hate crime.
Fitzpatrick said that although sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in the state’s hate-crimes law, such an incident needs to be taken seriously by both victims and law enforcement.
“As of right now, there is no criminal statute that covers the LGBT community. So while it doesn’t mean it isn’t a hate crime or a bias crime that happened to them, the most important thing is that it was a crime that happened. If what occurred to the individual is a crime, we’re going to make an arrest, we’re going to charge, prosecute and go forward with the case, just like we would any other case.”
The committee encouraged the community to report all crimes, no matter the circumstance.
Fitzpatrick noted that the number-one reason people do not report crimes is because the incidents happened while the victims were intoxicated.
“It is not illegal to be drunk and victimized,” she said.