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SPD Partners with Transgender Community on New Policy

Today, Seattle Police Department released a training video produced in partnership with members of the transgender community, highlighting the steps officers will take to ensure transgender individuals are treated with dignity and respect during all contacts with police. The video, produced by the department’s Education and Training Section, was prepared in accordance with the department’s transgender policy unveiled on January 1. The video includes personal stories from transgender individuals in the community.

Under SPD policy, officers shall consider a person to be transgender if the person identifies themselves as transgender or, if upon reasonable belief that a person may be transgender. The policy also regulates searches of transgender individuals, ensuring they are provided the opportunity to express preference for the gender of an officer conducting a search. The policy also allows transgender individuals in police custody to request to be transported and housed alone whenever possible.

“We live in a diverse city, and our policies must reflect the communities we serve,” said Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “This policy represents SPD’s commitment to ensuring all people are treated with respect, dignity, and professionalism, and that they feel comfortable and safe. I want to thank our friends in this video for collaborating with us to help educate our department on such an important matter.”

Last week, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the signing of an Executive Order mandating transgender training for all city departments.

“I applaud the Seattle Police Department for taking this important step to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Trainings such as these help our officers better serve the communities they work in. I look forward to other departments developing trainings for their front-line staff, ensuring that their employees have the resources to accommodate the transgender and gender diverse community.”

A majority of SPD employees have completed transgender interaction training. SPD joins several other jurisdictions, including Los Angeles PD, Chicago PD, Atlanta PD, and Boston PD who have enacted transgender interaction policies.

Seattle Police Department and the Mayor’s Office will host a media availability on March 10, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall in The Norman B. Rice Room. Mayor Murray will be signing the Executive Order on citywide department transgender training. Individuals featured in the training video will also be present.