A D.C. police official this week described as “totally false” unconfirmed reports that a controversial lieutenant had been named as the new head of the department’s special liaison units, including the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, and planned to dismantle the units as distinct entities.
Capt. Edward Delgado, director of the Special Liaison Division, which oversees the GLLU and the Latino, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Liaison Units, told the Blade on Tuesday that no such changes would be made and that he remains in charge of the liaison units.
“We are looking for an affiliate sergeant to fill in while Sgt. Matt Mahl is on sick leave,” Delgado said.
He was referring to Mahl’s status as supervisor of the GLLU and who temporarily left the unit due to what sources familiar with the GLLU say is a shoulder injury that may require surgery. Delgado said he plans to designate an affiliate GLLU member with the rank of sergeant, possibly from one of the eight police service districts, to serve as acting GLLU supervisor until Mahl returns.
Sources familiar with the department said Lt. Ronald Netter appeared at the GLLU office and reportedly told some GLLU members that he had been placed in charge of each of the liaison units and would be working out of the GLLU office in Dupont Circle. According to the sources, Netter reportedly said plans were underway to merge all of the liaison units into a single “special liaison” entity and all of its officers would respond to calls from each of the four constituency groups – LGBT people, Latinos, Asian-Pacific Islander members and the city’s deaf community.
These unconfirmed reports shocked GLLU members and those familiar with the unit, prompting supporters to say such a change would destroy the effectiveness of the individual units, in part, because members of one unit were not trained to provide police service to the other constituency groups.
Those hearing the unconfirmed reports were further alarmed because of news media reports over the past several years that Lt. Netter had been under investigation by the department and transferred from the Sixth District to the Central Cellblock in what was viewed as a demotion after he lost his service pistol on three separate occasions.
Delgado told the Blade that Netter was assisting him “on various things” but that he was not in charge of the GLLU or any of the other special liaison units.