D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, who in March 2015 became the first transgender person to be named as supervisor of the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant and assigned to a new job as a patrol supervisor in the Sixth Police District.
In a little-noticed development, Hawkins received her promotion as lieutenant in June and within days left her position at the LGBT Liaison Unit to begin her new job as a supervisor of officers and sergeants at the Sixth District, according to Lt. Brett Parson, an official at the Office of the Chief of Police who oversees the LGBT and other liaison units.
“We are very proud that Lt. Hawkins successfully completed the promotional process from sergeant to lieutenant and was promoted on June 22, 2018,” Parson told the Washington Blade.
“Upon being promoted, MPD members are transferred to a new command and assignment to continue to round out their professional development,” Parson said. “At this time, these transfers are primarily into the Patrol Bureaus,” he said.
Parson said he has been serving as acting supervisor of the LGBT Liaison Unit since Hawkins’s departure. He said the department hopes to name a new permanent supervisor of the LGBT Liaison Unit within the next month.
D.C. transgender rights activists hailed Hawkins’ appointment in early 2015 as head of the LGBT Liaison Unit as an important breakthrough for the police department. At the time, activists said there were still some reports surfacing of police officer mistreatment of transgender women in areas where sex workers congregated.
“I want to mend the bridges between the police department and the transgender community,” Hawkins told the Blade in a March 2015 interview.
Longtime transgender activists Earline Budd and Jeri Hughes have said they believe Hawkins, with support from high-ranking police officials, including then Chief Cathy Lanier, made significant progress in improving overall police relations with the transgender community.