March 22, 2017 at 4:43 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
GLAA backs Newsham for D.C. police chief
Peter Newsham, gay news, Washington Blade

The mayor has nominated Peter Newsham as the city’s police chief. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance is calling on the D.C. City Council to confirm Mayor Muriel Bowser’s nomination of Peter Newsham as the city’s police chief.

In remarks prepared to be delivered Friday, March 24, at a confirmation roundtable hearing of the Council’s Judiciary Committee, GLAA’s immediate past president, Rick Rosendall, called Newsham an “experienced and level-headed” police official who has been supportive of the LGBT community.

“We are pleased to endorse the confirmation of Peter Newsham as Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department,” Rosendall said in a statement. “In our experience and that of others who have spoken to us, Chief Newsham has been accessible, responsive, and forthright in his dealings with members of the LGBTQ community.”

Bowser named Newsham, an attorney who joined the MPD in 1989, as interim chief last September after then Police Chief Cathy Lanier resigned to take a job as head of security for the National Football League. In February, Bowser announced she was nominating Newsham as permanent chief after her office completed a national search for Lanier’s successor.

Rosendall and other LGBT activists have praised Newsham for appointing Acting Lt. Brett Parson, the former head of the police LGBT Liaison Unit, to oversee all of the police liaison units, which Newsham transferred into the Executive Office of the Chief of Police.

As a guest speaker on March 13 at a meeting of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Newsham discussed his rationale for bringing back Parson to the liaison units and bringing the units under his office.

“I thought that was really important for us as a police department to do, to send that message,” he said. “MPD is going to continue to strive to be inclusive and to be diverse and to work with some of our vulnerable and underserved communities.”

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

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