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LAPD has new policy on transgender stops, searches

A Los Angeles police officer who stops a man dressed as a woman now has to think twice before calling the person "Sir."

That's the word from Chief Charlie Beck, who issued a policy Thursday addressing how officers interact with the transgender community.

The policy is the latest step in the long process of making the Los Angeles police a more sensitive and professional force by ensuring police contacts with the transgender community are respectful and courteous, said Beck.

When a person identifies as transgender, officers are directed to "respect the expressed gender and do not question it," Beck writes in a memo to all department personnel.

When in doubt, the memo tells officers to rely on what a transgendered person may be wearing or their language and demeanor, and respectfully call the person "sir" or "ma'am" accordingly as they would in any stop.

The memo also bars officers from frisking individuals or questioning them for the sole purpose of learning their anatomical gender.

As with non-transgender stops, when an immediate body search for weapons is required for safety, officers of any gender may conduct the search.

In a less urgent situation where a transgender person is under arrest, they may declare a preference for a male or female officer to conduct the search, and will be accommodated if there is no perceived risk to officer safety.

Requests to remove wigs, prosthetics or cosmetics will be "consistent with requirements for the removal of similar items from non-transgender individuals," according to the memo.

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Last modified onThursday, 24 October 2013 04:38
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