The Costs Of AB 2504

It’s sad to think that any law enforcement organization would oppose training for law enforcement that would make the profession better for its own members as well as for what it provides to the public.  It’s even worse to think an organization of law enforcement executives would take such a stance, but the California Sheriff’s Association has done just that and said they oppose AB 2504 because of how much it costs.  Their position is misinformed and inaccurate.

The following are facts in response to those who claim the costs out weigh the worth.

  • AB 2504 addresses unlawful workplace harassment and discrimination. Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year settling litigation arising from incidents in the law enforcement workplace (UCLA Williams Institute).  As a result, law enforcement loses talented and experienced personnel.  Replacing these employees costs local agencies time and money.  AB 2504 will save tax payer money spent on all of these losses
  • AB 2504 does not duplicate existing law. Section 13519.4 PC addresses racial profiling.  The legislative intent of that section was to train law enforcement on how to avoid racial profiling.  The California POST curriculum focuses on the 4thand 14thAmendment and on race.  There is no mention of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The training required by this bill for entry-level recruits can be incorporated into the existing hours required for the basic law enforcement academy in learning domain 25 (domestic violence) and 42 (cultural diversity) requiring no additional expense for basic training providers.
  • A training course for peace officers and dispatchers meeting the requirements of AB 2504 has already been developed and was certified by California POST on April 16, 2018.
  • An online training course for peace officers and dispatchers meeting the requirements of AB 2504 was developed in 2016 by Out to Protect, a California non-profit organization.This course is already being used by law enforcement agencies around the United States.  They will provide this course to California POST at no cost.
  • In-service peace officers and dispatchers could complete the above mentioned online training while on duty at no additional cost to the agency or California POST.
  • AB 2504 makes no requirements for a minimum or maximum length of the required training for in-service peace officers and dispatchers. Subject matter experts believe it can be delivered in a little as 2 hours.
  • California peace officers and dispatchers are already required to complete on-going in-service training. The topics required by AB 2504 can easily be incorporated into existing in-service training hours over the time period allowed by the Bill.  AB 2504 provides an opportunity to efficiently update California peace officers and dispatchers on laws related to domestic violence and hate crimes while meeting the requirements of this Bill.
  • Subject matter experts have identified and already committed to volunteering their time to work with California POST to implement AB 2504.
  • The California Community College system, as part of its mission, currently uses credit and non-credit apportionment to fund training for law enforcement in California. Funds exist to pay for classes to meet the requirements of AB 2504. AB 2504 actually benefits California Community Colleges.
  • The Napa Valley College Criminal Justice Training Center, a California POST training academy, has already committed to providing the training as well as training materials for California law enforcement to use in order to meet the requirements of AB 2504. They have a commitment of funding to provide this training.

Assembly Bill 2504 heads next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  If you believe in this bill, we encourage you to write to committee members and encourage them to support the bill.  Share these facts about the costs.  The bottom line is that we cannot afford not to provide this training.

Click Here For A Roster Of Appropriations Committee Members

Press Release – California AB2504

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Out To Protect Collaborates On Legislation Requiring
LGBT Awareness Training For Police

(April 17, 2018, Santa Rosa CA.) We are pleased to support California Assembly Member Evan Low and his newest bill, Assembly Bill 2504 – Peace Officer Training On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

This bill adds section 13519.41 to the California Penal Code requiring the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to develop a course of required training for all California peace officers and dispatchers that includes:

1.  The difference between sexual orientation and gender identity and how these two aspects of identity relate to each other and to race, culture and religion.

2.  The terminology used to identify and describe sexual orientation and gender identity.

3.  How create an inclusive workplace within law enforcement for sexual orientation and gender identity minorities.

4.  Major moments in history related to sexual orientation, gender identity minorities and law enforcement.

5.  How law enforcement can respond effectively to domestic violence and hate crimes involving sexual orientation and gender identity minorities.

Out To Protect founder Greg Miraglia worked with Officer James Gonzalez, LGBT Liaison Officer at the San Jose Police Department, to write this legislation in consultation with Equality California and Assembly Member Low’s staff.

The overall goal of this bill is to improve the culture in law enforcement for sexual orientation and gender identity minority employees and to improve law enforcement’s effectiveness in serving the LGBTQ+ community in California.

Miraglia testified before the Assembly Public Safety Committee today at the State Capitol.  He  responded to criticism about the cost of this training explaining that a course meeting the requirements of this bill has already been created and certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.  This training can be presented in a variety of ways, including online, so that there is little to no financial burden on the State or local agencies.  He told the committee that the California Community College system already funds law enforcement training and can easily accommodate this new class.

Several California police academies already provide the training required by this bill. Miraglia said, “This training will not require any additional hours for basic academy training programs and can be accomplished within the existing required time for cultural diversity.  I sincerely hope the California Police Chiefs Association and California Sheriffs Association will demonstrate support for their own LGBTQ+ employees and for the LGBTQ+ citizens they serve by supporting this bill.”

He added, “I’m grateful for Assembly Member Low’s leadership in addressing this critical training need for California’s law enforcement profession.  As a working member of that profession for the better part of my adult life, I can say with firsthand experience that homophobia continues to be a significant problem on the job.  But I’ve seen the change that is possible when training is made available to law enforcement professionals.”

In 2017, Out To Protect produced an online LGBT Awareness For Law Enforcement course and began providing it for free to law enforcement agencies across the United States.  We also developed face-to-face versions of the training now certified by California POST and presented by the Napa Valley Criminal Justice Training Center in Napa, California.

Miraglia added, “We want to help law enforcement improve the work environment for LGBTQ+ employees and to become more skilled and effective in responding to incidents of domestic violence and hate crimes reported by the LGBTQ+ community. We will lend to California POST our subject matter expertise on this topic and share all of the training materials we have already developed to meet the demands of this bill.”

Assembly Member Low With Greg Miraglia

Click Here To Read More About The Justification For This Required Training.
Click Here To Read A Copy Of AB2504

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Call Out To Protect Incorporated 707-728-5428

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031004-14

It’s a cryptic title, but accurately describes the date fourteen years ago that I took a huge risk that ended up being life-changing in all respects.  For many of us who didn’t come out as a teenager, the day is one you don’t forget.  I liken it to a re-birth of sorts.  For me, my coming out was the single most significant life-changing experience of my near 55 years on earth.  Nothing has been the same since and I continue to talk and write about it in hopes that anyone, male or female, who is living life in a closet will consider taking a risk and come out.

I won’t recount the entire story, because I have it available in detail in my books.  But I will share some thoughts about coming out in 2018 and why it is still so important especially while working in law enforcement.  If you are familiar with my writing in the books and on the website, this might sound familiar, but it’s worth repeating and rethinking.  Just like a good hostage negotiator, continuing to offer negotiations, a way out of the situation, is the key to eventually resolving the situation.  I think being in the closet is much like a hostage situation, but as the one in the closet, you are both hostage and hostage taker.  The good news is that you are in full control of when and where you give up.

Living life in the closet is truly living a lie.  It’s impractical and unrealistic to think that you can keep your personal and professional life separate and apart for an entire career.  It doesn’t work in most professions and it certainly doesn’t work well in law enforcement.  At some point, talk about and exposure to your personal life is going to happen at work.  It may begin with a casual and friendly inquiry, such as, “what did you do this weekend?”  Maybe it will be more direct, “so are you seeing anyone?”  Such questions posed to someone in the closet offer a choice to either be honest or to lie.

Being dishonest in matters about your personal life isn’t the same as not telling the truth on the stand under oath, but the impact on you personally and professionally can eventually end up in the same place.  Truth and honesty are pounded into us as recruits from the beginning of our training.  We witness colleagues being fired for dishonesty and we feel the disgrace that comes from a lie.  The stress from even a “white lie” about our personal lives can mount and impact us physically.  It’s truly no fun.

In 2018, I think the risk to an officer who lies about who they are is greater than that from coming out and being openly non-heterosexual.  In every state, you can legally be fired as a peace officer for being dishonest, but at least in most states, employment protections based on sexuality are in place.  Times are changing and there are thousands of “out” gay and lesbians working in law enforcement.  It’s not as big a deal as it once was back when I started in the late 1970’s.  Aside from the professional risks, being in the closet creates limits on your life and for what, a job?  You deserve 100% happiness in your personal life and I’m here to tell you that it is entirely possible to realize.

I will always be grateful to the guy I first came out to.  He was truly wonderful and supportive.  As I look back today 14 years ago at the agony I was in and how worried I was about taking the risk, I am reminded about how much I under-estimated my friends and family.  I’m also reminded about how much better my life is today and I continue to wish that for all of my LGBTQ+ colleagues in law enforcement.  My only regret is that I waited so long to start living my life honestly and authentically.

I’ve made changing the culture of law enforcement a focus of my work so that some day, writing encouraging posts like this one won’t be necessary.  If you need help coming out, reach out to us on the website at comingoutfrombehindthebadge.com.

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Remembering Officer John Reinert

I met Officer John Reinert on July 25, 2012 at a training program we participated in for the command staff at the San Jose, California, Police Department.  Chief Chris Moore wanted to address the homophobia within the department and arranged for a panel of gay law enforcement officers to talk with the entire 60 plus member command staff.  Officer Reinert was there video taping the program.  I remember meeting him; his deep voice, huge smile and confident handshake.  One of the officers participating on the panel was also with San Jose PD and one of only two male officers of over 1000 at the time who was “out.”  After the training, John approached us, thanked us, and told the other San Jose officer that he would like to meet up for lunch sometime.

Well, they did meet for lunch and after witnessing the discussion at the training, John came out for the first time as a gay man.  He was 56 years old and for the first time able to share his true self with someone else.  John realized quickly that being “out” was the best way to be a positive role model for others and he didn’t waste any time doing just that.  In October of that same year, in celebration of National Coming Out Day, John shared his personal story with his colleagues and with the world.

Still in 2012, a police officer coming out, even in San Jose – the 10th largest city in the nation, was a big deal.  John’s pride in himself and his willingness to help and support other LGBT officers was extraordinary from the beginning.

I remember the first time John spoke on one of the LGBT officer panels. The program was relatively new at the time and John came to observe.  When he was invited to speak about his own story, John didn’t hesitate. I will always remember the tears that were streaming down his face that very first time.  You could feel the emotion and relief, but it was the first time he stood in front of a group of more than 40 and said, “I’m a gay man.”

After that, John regularly participated on the panel discussions for our cadets.  He became passionate about being a role model and was committed to making life for gay officers better at his department.  John worked with San Jose’s current chief, Eddie Garcia, to create a first-of-its-kind recruitment campaign specifically targeting gay and lesbian applicants. It’s become a model for agencies across the country.

Not long after coming out, John met Gustavo, the man who he would fall in love with and marry.  It all happened quickly for John.  He came out to his family, introduced them to the love of his life, and then got married.  Gustavo came with John to almost every panel discussion and I could tell how happy they made each other.  Together, they were a wonderful example for our students of a loving same-sex couple.

John shared with just a few people that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He never made a big deal of it and never stopped working.  He may not have been feeling well, but he was present, committed, and engaged.  He traveled with Gustavo and continued to live his life to the fullest while remaining dedicated to his beliefs and his work.

Officer John Reinert lost his battle with cancer on January 2, 2018.  I will neer forget his deep voice, big smile, those tears, and more recently, his big embrace.  I will keep his memory alive in our work and I know he will be present in spirit at every panel we present. John became a friend and colleague who I will miss very much.

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New COFBTB Challenge Coin




If you are a collector of challenge coins, add this one-of-a-kind, limited edition coin to your collection.  This beautiful coin was designed by Deputy Kasper who contributed a story to our most recent book. He is also the recipient of an Out To Protect scholarship.  This unique coin celebrates our work creating education and awareness of LGBT issues in law enforcement as well as our scholarship and grant programs.  The best part?  Your donation of just $30 helps us continue this work and in return we will send you this coin via USPS priority mail service.

Thank you for support Out To Protect.

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