Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Monday, June 06, 2005

Driving While Transgender

I came across this article on a Web site where Sgt. Steve Johnson addressed the transgender community. A transgender once told me of a bad experience with the Riverside Police Department which he felt kept harassing him because they sensed something "different" about him but couldn't identify what it was, but it attracted them to him like bees. Very unfortunate for him.

Some excerpts of the article:

"The nature of our business dictates that not all contacts [with the Police] will be positive". And, he admits, "There has not been a lot of training on [transgender issues] in the Police Academy.... Police Officers are human. Some of us are going to respond properly, some not." But a greater sensitivity on the part of Crossdressers to the difficult job police face can go a long way towards disarming a potentially tense situation.

In other words, excuse officers their bigotry. Bigotry is only human, whether it's towards race, sexual orientation or gender identity. Crossdressers have to be sensitive to bigotted cops, but cops can just do as they please. The elements of Community Policing in action, folks.

Many crossdressers worst nightmare is a traffic stop or other detention by a Law Enforcement Officer. Many feel they cannot tell the truth about their situation, for fear of harassment or embarrassment. "But cops are the wrong people to lie to....The worst thing you can possibly do is lie," Officer Johnson stresses. Police are trained to look for "Red Flags" when they stop an individual. For example, multiple ID cards are one. What activity would you be involved in that would necesitate changing your identity?

You have the choice to lie, or tell a cop you're not really a woman, or a man? Considering that transgenders have been beaten by cops just for being transgenders, it's a tough choice. What is the cop going to do with the truth? Let you go, or mistreat you, b/c he or she's only "human" and doesn't get the appropriate training on transgenders.

Moreover, "The majority of transgendered people I come into contact with are transvestite prostitutes on University Avenue," he candidly admits. Many of them have drug habits and carry concealed weapons". Many police by instinct assume any crossdressed person is one of these. And, unfortunately, "It does you folks an injustice".

By George, Steve Johnson, you've got it! Transgenders are prostitutes! Just like all Black people are criminals, because a few of them are. Only Whites are allowed to be judged as individual people by cops. Instinct is just another word added to a long list of words to substitute for prejudice and bigotry.

It was suggested that Police Academy training include sensitivity training on Transgender issues. But, Officer Johnson admits, "They go thorugh such intense training, I don't know if they'd even give you a day". The P.O.S.T. system (Police Officers Standards Of Training) has a very rigorous procedure to add anything new to their curriculum. There are also budget and time constraints as well.

We're too busy and have too many important things to do to learn how to treat you as human beings, and not either street criminals or sexual deviants.

Police oficers are trained to have a COMMAND PRESENCE, a necessary tool in confrontations. This is often mistaken for hostility. But remember, "Your behavior dictates how I will respond. If you're low-key, professional and dignified, I'll act the same way".

Confrontations? How come cops don't call their interactions with white straight non-transgendered people, "confrontations"? No matter how low-keyed, professional and dignified a transgendered person acts, if he or she is dealing with a bigotted, ignorant cop, his or her dignified person can still get mistreated or even beaten.

Transgenders: Another "criminally profiled" group...

Transgenders according to Sgt. Johnson


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