LGBT Liaison Network Leadership Team
National Law Enforcement LGBT Liaison Network
|Julie Callahan||Christine Garcia||James Gonzales||Greg Miraglia|
|Don Mueller||Brett Parson||Jim Ritter|
Learn More About Our Team
Julie Callahan – is a retired police officer and district attorney investigator. Her career spans nearly four decades of service to two agencies. She spent the first 29 years working as a patrol officer and then as a detective for the San Jose Police Department, in California. During her tenure there she worked several assignments including street gangs, narcotics, burglary, and several proactive policing units. Ms. Callahan participated in task force investigations with the F.B.I., the D.E.A., and U.S. Customs Service. She was selected to work on a number of special investigations for the Office of the Chief of Police. Those cases involved public corruption, organized crime, organized human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. Her most gratifying assignments were hunting sexual predators, murderers, and offenders that sexually exploit children. Ms. Callahan received many awards and honors during her career with SJPD including being named Officer of the Year, receiving several service awards, and letters of commendation from her superiors and from the community.
After her retirement from SJPD Ms Callahan went to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office where she worked on investigations in environmental crimes and consumer fraud. Like many D.A. investigators she was also assigned to a variety of cases involving public corruption and real estate fraud before being assigned to investigate violent crimes occurring at the two state prisons located within the county. Her most enjoyable assignment was with the Prison Prosecution Unit where she investigated murders and attempted murders that happened inside prison walls perpetrated by inmates upon other inmates. She retired from the DA’s Office in 2019.
Ms. Callahan identifies as a transgender woman. She was born male-bodied and transitioned genders, during her time with the San Jose Police Department. In 2001 she was the first known transgender officer to publicly transition genders at that agency. This was a challenging time for both the department and for Ms. Callahan. Ms. Callahan prefers using her first name in social settings and uses female pronouns; she and her.
In 1998 Julie discovered other transgender officers while she was beginning her transition and during their discussions and identified the need for peer-support and education on gender-identity related matters within the law enforcement community was identified. Julie, along with a group of other transgender officers from around the world, formed what later became the Transgender Community of Police & Sheriffs also known as TCOPS for short. From its humble beginnings as an email list the group has grown dramatically. What began as a meeting of about a dozen officers from five countries, has become a peer-support network with over 5,700 law enforcement officers and law enforcement support personnel from around the world. TCOPS facilitates active discussion, support, and news groups to assist LEOs and LESPs to help members navigate gender-identity related issues. The organization provides assistance to members in transition planning, controlled disclosure to employers, and offers advice and counsel to the executive staff of any public safety agency dealing with the challenges of diversity and inclusion of transgender staff members both sworn and non-sworn, to their organization.
Julie and her husband Patrick have a blended family of adult children and nine grandchildren. After retiring they relocated to the high desert of Nevada where they live on a small farm. Julie and Patrick consult with both the private and public sector on matters related to the intersection of law enforcement and the LGBTQ community.
Christine Garcia – is the 1st openly Transgender Law Enforcement Officer in the San Diego County region. She was born in 1984 in San Diego, California as male. Appointed as a Police Officer for the City of San Diego in July of 2007, she has worked such assignments as, Mid-City Patrol, Southern Patrol, Southeastern Patrol, Southeastern Investigations, Eastern Patrol, Eastern Juvenile Services Team, and currently at the Traffic Collision Investigation Bureau as a Traffic Collision Reconstructionist and a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer. At the age of 31, 8 years of police service, she took the step to begin living her life as her authentic self. In July of 2015, she began her transition, all while in uniform.
Since transition, she became the SDPD’s Transgender Liaison Officer. Christine is open about her transition and shares her story on a regular basis. She has struggled with gender dysphoria since she was a child. She attempted to live her life as male for 31 years and eventually after years of hiding and feelings of angst, she became comfortable with living her life as female. After finding the group TCOPS (Transgender Community of Police and Sheriffs), she decided to transition while doing what she loved most, serving as a police officer.
Christine’s transition served as an example of how we should be treating transgender individuals. Christine was accepted and supported by her thousands of sworn police and civilian personnel. Her agency also wrote Policy and Procedure, spelling out how to protect and assist Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming employees. She has written Policy and Procedure on Police Interaction with the Transgender Community and started the San Diego Police Department’s Safe Place Program. She provides training to the San Diego Regional Academy recruits, provides training to active duty police officers of her agency as well as several different agencies, attend meetings at the LGBT Center, speaks publicly all over the United States, and has done several on camera interviews.
James Gonzales – has worked in law enforcement for over 18 years in Silicon Valley, serving in many different roles and is currently the LGBT community liaison at the San Jose Police Department. He was previously Vice President of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association. In both his roles in the department and previously in the police union, James has worked on building strong relationships with the community spearheading nationally recognized efforts in this space. James has extensive media/public relations experience and frequently is seen on television commenting on public safety or LGBT issues. James is a senior fellow with American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley and a member of the San Jose chapter of Rotary International and serves on several boards serving the LGBT community.
Greg Miraglia – has a Masters Degree in Education Administration and Bachelors Degree in Business. He teaches five courses in LGBT studies, a variety of law enforcement courses including all human relations, work place harassment, community policing, and one of the only state certified hate crimes investigations courses in the State of California. In 2016, he was named Dean Emeritus at Napa Valley College after retiring as dean of career technical education. He continues to serve as a part time faculty member at Napa Valley College, Santa Rosa Junior College and City College of San Francisco.
In 2011, he authored curriculum for an accredited LGBT Studies Program now offered by Napa Valley College. This was the second program of its type offered by a California college. In July of 2013, Mr. Miraglia was awarded the “Dr. John W. Rice Diversity Award” by the Chancellor of the California Community College system for his work developing hate crime prevention and diversity education programs. He is a nationally recognized speaker and expert on LGBT issues in the law enforcement profession.
Mr. Miraglia serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and is also a radio program host and producer on Outbeat Radio, a weekly LGBT program on KRCB Radio. Mr. Miraglia has over 35 years of experience in law enforcement with three different police departments working most recently as deputy chief of the Napa Valley Railroad Police Department.
After coming out himself in 2004, Mr. Miraglia decided to work with others in law enforcement who are still struggling with the pervasive homophobia that still exists in many areas of the law enforcement, the fire service, and EMS profession.
Captain Don Mueller – recently retired as a lieutenant from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after 30 years. He is currently the captain of the Cerritos College Police Department located in Los Angeles County. In 1992, then-Deputy Mueller became one of the first peace officers in all of Southern California to openly acknowledge his gay sexual orientation. He is a nationally recognized expert in LGBTQ-related diversity training and policy development. Captain Mueller was invited to speak at the White House by the Obama Administration in June 2015 and addressed over 100 international dignitaries regarding violence against LGBTQ persons around the world. He has assisted the U.S. Department of Justice in developing diversity training currently in use at the FBI, DOJ, and Secret Service, and has conducted LGBTQ awareness training for over 40 major law enforcement agencies across the country. Captain Mueller is a California P.O.S.T. certified instructor in Cultural Awareness and Sexual Harassment Training, and is federally trained as a Hate Crimes Investigator Instructor. Captain Mueller is proudly married to his Filipino husband, Oriel, and they currently live a wonderful life together with their Miniature Pincher “Nitro” in the beautiful city of Signal Hill, California.
Brett Parson – With more than 25 years’ experience in local, state, and federal law enforcement, Brett Parson is an internationally recognized leader who has championed award-winning innovations in multiple areas, from programs to improve police service to underserved communities and protect victims of domestic violence, to ensuring essential services to the families of officers injured and killed in the line of duty.
During his time with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), in Washington DC, Brett helped create ground breaking programs that are recognized as models for other departments across the country and around the world. Most notably, Brett led the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU), which received the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Innovations in Government Award, along with a $100,000.00 grant to help replicate the program. He then worked with department leadership to expand that approach to form the Special Liaison Branch (SLB), whose mission is to improve police service to a wide range of underserved communities: African, Asian, deaf and hard of hearing, faith-based, Latino, and LGBTQ+.
Brett also helped develop and supervised a model program for helping the survivors of officers injured or killed in the line of duty that goes above and beyond prior such efforts. MPD’s Family Support Team (FST) responds any time an active-duty or retired sworn or civilian member of the department becomes critically injured or ill, or dies (both line-of-duty and non-duty related). After making a professional, respectful, and compassionate notification to the next-of-kin and other survivors (including co-workers), the FST is responsible for caring for the needs of the surviving family members for the rest of their lives. It is MPD’s way of fulfilling the promise, “We will never forget.”
Parson’s leadership roles have taken him across almost all aspects of MPD, working in vice, narcotics, gun recovery, alcohol-related crimes, bias-related (hate) crimes, domestic violence, violent crimes (sexual abuse and homicides), and supervising the city’s elite Narcotics Strike Force. Battling domestic/intimate partner violence, however, has become a specialty. Brett has responded to and investigated all types of domestic violence, serving as an instructor for officers, investigators, and supervisors, as well as other criminal justice professionals. More specifically, Brett developed protocols and curricula to teach law enforcement how to better respond to same-gender intimate partner violence, which is often mishandled. He also specializes in determining “primary aggressor” and “instigator” roles during intimate-partner violence investigations, avoiding unnecessary and harmful arrests of victims and survivors.
As a result of this work, Brett is called upon to teach and consult for police departments, governments and NGOs across the nation and around the globe. Within the federal government, Brett has been called on by the departments of State, Justice, Defense, Interior, Labor, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Homeland Security, and Agriculture, as well as every branch of the United States Armed Services.
Within law enforcement, Brett has assisted the FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Secret Service, Postal Inspector, Capitol Police, Park Police, Marshals Service, Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Patrol, and Immigration and Naturalization Service – just to name a few. He also teaches and consults for law enforcement organizations like the International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement, Police Executive Research Forum, and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).
Outside of the United States, Brett has taught or consulted for: U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Justice, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and INTERPOL. His work has taken him around the globe to teach, consult, and speak to agencies and leaders in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic/Slovakia (Czechoslovakia), England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Philippines, Scotland, Switzerland, Vietnam, and Wales.
Brett regularly lectures at leading educational institutions, including Harvard Law School, Georgetown Law School, Washington School of Law, Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, the University of Maryland, the Washington International School, Sidwell Friends, and Saint Alban’s. He has been a featured speaker and lecturer at countless primary and secondary schools.
Finally, Brett provides service to a wide range of other organizations with diverse interests and missions. His clients include the U.S. Holocaust Museum and Memorial, Anti-Defamation League, National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial and Museum, Concerns of Police Survivors, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Anti-Violence Coalition, Human Rights Campaign, and Amnesty International and more.
Brett has been recognized by MPD, the DC community, and other agencies many times for his work and victim advocacy, including Officer of the Year (MPD), Supervisor of the Year (MPD), Victim Advocate of the Year (U.S. Attorney’s Office – Washington, D.C.), Distinguished and Meritorious Service Awards (multiple agencies and organizations), as well as community and public service awards from the Human Rights Campaign, Brother Help Thyself, Capital Pride Alliance, Transgender Health Empowerment, DC Domestic Violence Coalition, and Children’s National Medical Center.
Brett received his B.A. in Criminal Justice and Spanish from the University of Maryland at College Park, where he also pursued his M.A. in Criminal Justice and Counseling.
Jim Ritter – was hired as a Deputy Sheriff in 1980 and by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) in1983. Jim has served in various capacities within the SPD including Patrol, Human Resources, Background Investigations, Recruiting, Vice and as the Training Coordinator and a Union Director with with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild. In 1997, Ritter developed and built the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum in an effort to educate the public and its police officers as to the Culture, Technological and Historical transitions within the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office since their inceptions. This was done in an effort to reduce public anxiety and “demystify” the police.
In 2014, Ritter was appointed by Chief Kathleen O’Toole as the SPD’s first full-time LGBTQ Liaison in an effort to respond to a variety of LGBTQ community concerns, including mistrust with police, increased hate crimes and a variety of other issues that impacted Seattle’s LGBTQ community relationships with the SPD. In 2014, Ritter developed the SPD’s SAFE PLACE Initiative that was designed to assist the victim’s of LGBTQ hate crimes and bring public awareness & attention to the inconsistencies regarding law enforcement’s responses to these crimes and the reasons victims did not report them. SPD SAFE PLACE was the first concept of its kind in U.S. history, where the police had taken the initiative, developed and implemented a public initiative to collaborate with businesses and schools to address Hate Crimes and Student Bullying.
Upon its launch in May of 2015, SPD SAFE PLACE instantly drew the attention of U.S., Canadian, Japanese & European media as being a dynamic and effective solution to historic hate crimes problems. Soon over 6,000 Seattle area business and schools were participating and the LGBTQ community’s trust in the police began to improve. Within weeks, other law enforcement agencies, businesses & schools outside Seattle began participating and Canadian law enforcement soon followed.
By 2016, over 200 law enforcement agencies began expressing interest in Seattle PD’s SAFE PLACE Initiative, recognizing it to be an effective way to assist in changing the culture in regards to LGBTQ relations within their agencies. Community activists and advocates around the U.S. also made inquiries and began communicating with their police agencies to a degree that had never been seen before. SPD’s Safe Place Initiative has been adopted by various law enforcement agencies throughout North America, including Los Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Tucson, Miami, Nashville and Vancouver, (BC). In 2017, Canadian Parliament authorized the SPD’s Safe Place Initiative for use by the RCMP and for use by law enforcement agencies throughout Canada. In 2016, Orlando (Fl) adopted the Safe Place concept on the 6-month anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shootings that killed 49 LGBTQ community members.
Also in 2016, Ritter also developed & organized Seattle’s first Hate Crimes Conference to bring public attention to hate crimes. Special guest speakers included Matthew Shepard’s parents and the investigators who oversaw Matt’s tragic hate-related 1997 Wyoming murder in 1997. Other speakers included the Sheriff and Prosecutor from the horrific1997 Ku Klux Klan dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Texas.
Jim additionally developed the SPD’s first Transgender Training Video in 2016 in an effort to educate SPD officers as to the struggles Transgender persons experience from a “human perspective” in an attempt to reduce anxiety from both sides and to begin a healthy conversation over mutual respect and accepting others’ differences.
Since 2014, Jim has continually travelled throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe assisting law enforcement agencies in enhancing their relationships with their LGBTQ communities. He has also testified before the Washington State Legislature and is a subject matter expert regarding LGBTQ/Police Relations, Hate Crimes and Community Collaboration.