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Grand Rapids police, fire department partner with Pride Center for inclusivity training

Posted at 11:42 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 14:56:37-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — City Commissioners approved this week a contract with the Grand Rapids Pride Center for an in-person training program for GRPD and the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

The goal of the program is to “expand capacity and build awareness of inclusive public safety practices that recognize, affirm and show mutual respect for 2-SLGBTQUIA+ community members and intersecting communities,” according to a news release Wednesday.

2-SLGBTQIA+ stands for Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual. The plus sign is meant to include affiliated identities not specified in the initialism.

Training will examine the history of the relationship between law enforcement and the 2-SLGBTQUIA+ community, create intersectionality between queerness and marginalized communities and build trust through better interactions.

“By providing these tools for better understanding and clearer communication, we can continue to build trust and feelings of safety with all members of our community,” said Brandon Davis, director of the Office of Oversight and Public Accountability at GRPD.

The high-level topics of the training program include:

  • Creating a foundation of 2-SLGBTQIA+ terminology 
  • Learning from past mistakes 
  • Practicum regarding misgendering/the use of gender-neutral language 
  • The impact of discrimination and othering on marginalized populations 
  • Awareness of oppression and microaggressions 
  • Practicum regarding inclusivity in emergency situations 
  • Best practices in de-escalation and crisis management situation involving LGBTQIA+ individuals 

Officials say the new training builds on that what was previously offered by the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center and the formal liaison role held within GRPD by Lt. Maureen O’Brien to support LGBTQIA+ inclusive law enforcement practices.