PSPD New Policy on Transgendered Individuals
PALM SPRINGS - In an effort to prevent discrimination, the Palm Springs Police Department has adopted a new policy on how officers will interact with transgendered people on the job. It's the first of its kind in the Coachella Valley.
"The Palm Springs Police Department works with a diverse community. The guidelines were created to ensure the appropriate treatment of transgender individuals," said Sargeant Harvey Reed.
Under the new section on the police manual, transgender is defined as "a person whose gender identity is different from the person's assigned sex at birth. A transgender can be pre-operative, post-operative or non-operative."
When a transgendered person gets stopped by police, the officer will have to respect his or her expressed gender and not question it. Any information obtained about an individual's transgender status will be documented. In field searches and pat-downs, a transgendered person has the option to be searched by either a female or male officer. The officer than has to comply as long as it doesn't risk the officer's safety.
Sgt. Reed said these new guidelines didn't come from any past negative interaction between the Palm Springs Police Department and transgender individuals.
"It came about from a realization that Palm Springs police officers need to address the needs of the transgender community while still providing effective law enforcement services," expressed Reed.
The leader of the Coachella Valley Transgender Community (CVTC), Mattie Leyden, said this is a step forward for their community. There are 100 members in the CVTC, and Leyden estimates about 1,000 transgendered people in the Valley.
Other law enforcement agencies in cities like Chicago, Boston and San Francisco have already adopted similar guidelines.