PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Palm Springs Police LGBTQ Outreach Committee hosted their annual town hall meeting.
The meeting, held at the Mizell Senior Center, allowed members of the community to directly speak with police, many of them raising concerns about recent crimes and discussing how police can work with the community to keep everyone safe.
"What brought me here tonight specifically was because of the current events that are happening and most recently my friend was involved in the shooting at toucans which is a gay bar," said Raymond Bordeaux, resident of Palm Springs.
Even though the Toucans shooting is not being called "a hate crime" by police, recent crime in general in Palm Springs has some members of the LGBTQ community uneasy. Chief Reyes addressed questions and concerns, vowing that police are dedicated to protecting everyone.
"The hate continues but our efforts will always be there to partner up with the community and see what we can do to improve," said Chief Bryan Reyes,PSPD.
Speakers at the meeting took a look back at past crimes: showing a short video on the stonewall riots, providing a brief overview of past incidents in palm springs such as the 2009 warm sands sex sting, and highlighting the importance of maintaining a good relationship between PSPD and the LGBTQ community.
"We've been a part of the outreach committee for a very long time and we believe that working closely with them is vital to everyone's success. So we definitely take an active part in their committee and an active part in our community," said Sgt. Michael Casavan, Public Information Officer, PSPD.
Speakers also discussed a new policy where police officers, firefighters and EMTs will be trained to address those who identify as transgender. "If they're all aware of appropriate terms, terminologies, and the ability to understand that at least not everybody has the pronoun that's associated with their appearance...the education is really important," said Les Young, LGBTQ Outreach Committee.
Police and the committee were in agreement that feedback from the community is essential in the prevention of hate crimes. "We're trying to get more people involved and feel like they can trust the police department and that they want to be involved with us as a committee," said Robert Tindall, chair of the LGBTQ Outreach Committee.
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