Denver's first LGBTQ police liaison on bias motivated crimes, the Denver Pride Festival and how private businesses can be allies
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
DENVER - Denver Pride Festival, took place June 16th and 17th at Denver's Civic Center Park and Denver Police Lieutenant, Michael Wyatt whose role as LGBT Liaison to the police was formally established in June of 2017 answered a few questions about his new role as liaison between the Denver Police and the Pride event organizers.
The Denver LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Community Center, the organization producing Denver Pride Fest annually hires private security and private detectives to assist with the Denver's Civic Center event celebrating community, family and culture however a recent spike in biased motivated crimes occurred leading up to the march. No biased related crimes were reported during the event however in late May, Dylan Payne, 24, was arrested for stabbing Chris Huizar, 19, and Gabriel Roman, 23, while they were walking home from Denver's Church nightclub on Sunday, May 27, 2018 in a hate crime and unfortunately targeted crime like this is on the rise in Denver.
Wyatt declined to detail heightened surveillance measures during the event however, he said his role police liaison to the LGBT community included accessing whether or not threats coming in from people hostile to the LBGT Center and community needed to be forwarded to the Denver Police Department detective unit.
Wyatt's more prominent role was coordinating a unit of allies in the police department who showed their support for the local LBGTQ community by participating in the parade. It is about more than just a parade, though. Citing the historic Stonewall nightclub tragedy happened in 1969 in New York City, Wyatt acknowledged that relationships between police and the LGBT community has not always been a harmonious one.
Although Wyatt himself has been out for twelve years and his sexual orientation has never been a problem in the Denver police force, "we still live in a time when a certain segment of our society faces harassment, intimidation, and assault simply for being “who they are," he points out.
This was reinforced by his acknowledgement that, "leading up to PrideFest we did have some Anti-LGBTQ motivated violence and property crimes. Arrests were made in both the violent incidents."
To counter balance this, Wyatt has brought the Safe Space initiative to Denver. Originally started in Seattle it is a movement to involve the community in protecting LGBT citizens from hate crimes by posting a safe haven sticker outside of a business establishment.
Any business, including private investigator firms, wishing to participate can display a “DPD SAFE PLACE” sticker in their business window. A clearly visible DPD SAFE PLACE sticker in their window, lets everyone know they are a participant and that their business will provide a safe place for victims of any crime while waiting for the arrival of police and that the business/employee will call 911 or assist the victim in calling 911 and encourage the reporting of this crime.
If you want the community to know that you that you share the belief that all people should be given assistance when being victimized or harassed, go to dpdsafeplace.com and register to participate. The program is limited to businesses and does not include private residences.
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