November 11, 2014 at 9:34 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Chief names new head of gay police unit
Cheryl Crawley, gay news, Washington Blade

Lt. Cheryl Crawley is the new head of the division that oversees GLLU. (Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas)

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier last month appointed a lieutenant who has served in the Metropolitan Police Department for 24 years as the new head of the police division that oversees the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit.

Lt. Cheryl Crawley, who most recently worked at the Sixth District Patrol Services and School Security Bureau, replaces Capt. Edward Delgado as manager of the department’s Special Liaison Division, according to police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump.

Crump said Crawley’s appointment became effective on Oct. 19.

The Special Liaison Division oversees the GLLU as well as three other special liaison units – the Latino Liaison Unit, the Asian Liaison Unit, and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Liaison Unit.

“Lt. Crawley has 24 years of experience with the Metropolitan Police Department and brings with her great ideas and a vast knowledge of Community Policing,” said Sgt. Matt Mahl, supervisor of the GLLU, in a Nov. 3 email introducing Crawley to a list of local LGBT organizations, including the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

“Over the next several weeks, I will be bringing her around to meet everyone so they can put a face to the name,” Mahl said in his email. “Please give her a warm welcome.”

Crawley began her new job a little over two weeks after Lanier or one of her top assistants transferred Delgado to a new assignment with the department’s Office of Unified Communications Liaison in Southeast D.C., which oversees the 911 emergency call center.

The transfer came two months after Delgado was accused in an internal police complaint of allegedly harassing a gay male officer assigned to the GLLU by repeatedly calling him by a female name. Crump said the complaint was being investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs Division. She said that under police rules, no one, including Delgado, could comment on the matter.

Among Crawley’s first public appearances after being named as the new head of the Special Liaison Division was the Washington Blade’s Best of Gay D.C. awards party on Oct. 23, where she was greeted by Mayor Vincent Gray.

Crump said that Crawley’s appointment as manager of the Special Liaison Division doesn’t change Sgt. Mahl’s status as supervisor of the GLLU.

A biography released by the department says Crawley began her police career as a patrol officer in the Second District before being transferred five years later to the Youth Investigations Division. At that post she served as a Youth Outreach Officer, an instructor for the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program and later as an investigator for physical and sexual crimes against children.

After being promoted to sergeant in 2007 she served eight years in the Seventh District and as a Detective Sergeant at the Youth Investigations Division. After assuming the title of lieutenant she served as manager of one of the Public Service Area sections in the Sixth District.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • So Chief Cathy Lanier did not permit MPD's GLLU unit and its supervisor to notify any DC LGBTs of Lt. Crawley's appointment for 2 FULL WEEKS — get this…
    until the day just before the election. How credible is that for MPD sincerity and transparency?
    Even then, apparently Sgt. Mahl was only permitted to notify a select list of LGBT activists. Why was that? (Keep in mind, GLLU can't do anything the Chief won't allow them to do.)
    What was so secret, Chief Lanier wanted to hide from the LGBT public at large?
    And why didn't Chief Lanier permit Mahl to notify our east side (Ward 5 and Hill) listservs — some 700+ LGBT members?
    And why did Chief Lanier — YET AGAIN — degrade and demote SLD's importance to Community Policing by replacing its captain with a lieutenant?
    Chief Lanier continues to send a confusing, homophobic and transphobic message throughout MPD's 4,000 sworn officers that likely seems something like this …
    **Hey, don't call SLD or GLLU for hate crimes and other LGBT-related policing incidents. I'm your chief, and I don't think SLD and GLLU are that important.**
    This has happened before, too. Check out the Blade's prior news coverage of Lanier's repeated demotion harassment of GLLU and SLD…
    "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."
    "Thus his role as supervisor of the GLLU and the other liaison units that perform police duties could be a signal that the importance and effectiveness of the units are being diminished, according to the sources."

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