. . . “I came being very ignorant of that community,” said Justin Berry, a cadet who learned about the gay and lesbian community, “and I learned so much about that culture. It really helped me personally grow, and I think it’s going to help me grow in my career with Austin Police Department, as far as learning more about the communities and the citizens of Austin, which we’re here to help serve and protect.”
“If you can’t see the world through the eyes of other people that are different than you, you won’t be able to respect what their wishes are and how they want to be treated,” said APD Chief Art Acevedo.
Regular readers of JMBzine.com know I’m not a fan of the police generally, but this story from Austin is very, very encouraging. I was very impressed that APD didn’t just have some presentation on diversity but actually had cadets immerse themselves into minority communities and learn about them. And I’m especially impressed to see that APD is reaching out to the GLBT community in particular (I wish the Oklahoma City PD would learn from Austin in this regard, given some of the abuses that have happened against the GLBT community by cops in the past).
Thanks to the news on OutQ 109 (Sirius satellite radio) for making me aware of this story. On a side note, Out Q is the best channel on Sirius. I think I may have to start a fan club for Straight fans of Out Q, because the channel is so good. The political programming and news is top-notch, but I also love the comedy/culture shows too (particularly Derek and Romaine and the Diana Cage show).