January 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm EST | by Staff reports
GLOV to elect new leaders on Thursday

Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence will hold its annual leadership elections on Thursday. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the D.C. Center, at 1318 U St., N.W.

Current co-chairs Kelly Pickard and Joseph Montoni have nominated several candidates. Although the potential candidates have not yet accepted or declined their nominations, all nominees are drawn from the group’s core of  “poor volunteers,” Pickard said. The names of nominees had not been released as of Blade press time.

Last year, GLOV and other community-based outreach groups became directly involved in training police officers to recognize and respond to LGBT-related crimes. Officers who volunteered to work with the Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit received a three-day intensive training session from the community groups, while all MPD officers received some degree of training. Among those nominated for GLOV co-chair are several coaches who directed the training sessions for law enforcement.

Looking toward the tasks that face GLOV’s new leadership in 2011, Pickard sees an expansion of the officer training program.

“I believe we’re looking at another four training sessions led by LGBT groups, with more intensive training again for the GLLU affiliate officers,” Pickard said.

Although pleased that the community has begun to play a direct role in educating officers, Pickard remains concerned about the impact of Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s move to decentralize the GLLU.

“With the restructuring, there’s a longer chain of command, so the biggest stumbling block continues to be the length of time it takes for information to get out of the community.”

Lanier’s decision to restructure the GLLU initially prompted activist groups including GLOV to release an open letter to then-Mayor Adrian Fenty, asking him to override Lanier.

Although the unit remains decentralized, the efforts to train police officers have been praised by GLOV and others.

“The community-led effort to [train] affiliate officers was a huge undertaking, not just by GLOV. It’s been a long process of refining information and finding the best way to present it to law enforcement officers,” Pickard said. “Although there was some frustration with the restructuring, I think the ability to have genuine community-led training of officers should in a long term be a positive thing.”

— Michael Nagle

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