City partners with Grand Rapids Pride Center for police and fire training

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The Grand Rapids City Commission approved a contract with the Grand Rapids Pride Center for an in-person training program for all sworn members of the Grand Rapids police and fire departments.

The training program will be designed to expand capacity and build awareness of inclusive public safety practices that recognize, affirm and show mutual respect for 2-SLGBTQIA+ community members and intersecting identities.

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.

Public safety inclusive training will provide an examination and understanding of the history of the relationship between law enforcement and the 2-SLGBTQIA+ community, create an understanding of the intersectionality between queerness and marginalized communities, and provide practical tools that will lead to a safer community through building trust based on better interactions between public safety employees and the 2-SLGBTQIA+ community.

Brandon Davis Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

This partnership builds upon previous training offered to all staff by the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center and the formal liaison role held within the Grand Rapids Police Department by Lieutenant Maureen O’Brien to support LGBTQIA+ inclusive law enforcement practices.

“The fire department is a welcomed addition for a more robust approach to inclusive public safety,” said Stacy Stout, director of the Grand Rapids Office of Equity and Engagement. “The pride center training is an important step in advancing our efforts to embed equity and inclusion in city policies and practices.”

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

“This partnership with the Grand Rapids Pride Center is a great opportunity to continue to build great relationships between our public safety officers and our 2-SLGBTQIA+ communities,” said Brandon Davis, director of the Office of Oversight and Public Accountability. “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.”

This contract is aligned with the city’s strategic plan, specifically its commitment to equity and public safety.

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