It takes different strokes to move the world.
In a kindly, if late in the month gesture, the New Orleans Police Department has debuted a special Pride-themed badge for officers to wear to honor the LGBTQ community of New Orleans, and to “represent the NOPD’s commitment to diversity and to working with everyone in our community”, and to “make New Orleans the greatest city in the world.”
Joining New Orleans EMTs, the NOPD is one of the only police departments in the country that are letting officers wear such badges.
While many activists have called for the police to stay out of Pride – especially after the New York Police Department’s apology for Stonewall in 1969 and the indifference shown before and after the Upstairs Lounge fire in New Orleans – the NOPD has made changes to policy and outreach, going so far as to make Sgt. Frank Robertson – who stepped up personally – the official liaison for the community:
“The gay community often feels NOPD is not sympathetic to them, and I want to communicate that the NOPD is here and listening to them. I’ve heard the concerns and I’ve had people tell me they’re afraid to talk to the police, so I encourage people to come forward with whatever they have that might help an investigation.”
The special Pride badge will be made available for officers to wear for the rest of June.
Bill Arceneaux has been an independent writer and film critic in the New Orleans area since 2011, working with outlets like Film Threat, DIG Baton Rouge, Crosstown Conversations, and Occupy. He is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and is Rotten Tomatoes approved. Follow him on Twitter: @billreviews