Sgt. Tomi Finkle, who transitioned as a transgender woman after a 25-year career as a U.S. Capitol Police officer and in retirement served as a volunteer member of the D.C. Police Department’s then Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit, died Sept. 4 from complications associated with cancer. She was 64.
Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees what is now the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, said Finkle joined the MPD’s Civilian Auxiliary as a volunteer with the then Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit in the early 2000s.
“She was the first member of the transgender community to serve the GLLU and assisted with outreach, training and education, and provided consultation on investigations and response to crime and incidents involving the transgender community,” Parson said.
“Her selfless dedication and commitment to policing and the community assisted MPD with building and strengthening relationships with some of the most underserved in our city,” he said. “She was a valued friend, colleague, and mentor, as well as a trusted adviser and confidante. Her expertise and experience helped many members of law enforcement grow and develop personally and as professionals,” he said.
Added Parson: “By living as her authentic self, she served as a role model for more people than she will ever know.”
In addition to her career as a U.S. Capitol Police officer and her years as a volunteer with the D.C. Police Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit, Finkle served as a member of a private, all-volunteer horseback riding organization that provides search and rescue missions and emergency first aide for people lost or injured in remote wooded areas inaccessible to motor vehicles, according to her daughter, Tara Finkle, who is an officer with the Alexandria, Va., Police Department.
Tara Finkle said Tomi Finkle began her association with the organization, known as TROT SAR or TROT Search and Rescue, toward the end of her career as a Capitol Police officer. She said Tomi Finkle became a skilled horseback rider some years before joining TROT SAR.
“She was a founding member of the organization and served as its commander until the time of her passing,” Tara Finkle said. “She coordinated searches.”
Tomi Finkle is survived by her daughter, Tara Finkle, and grandchildren, Chloe and David, and a son.
A Celebration of Life was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and a memorial service was scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Williams Funeral Home at 4270 Hawthorne Road, Indian Head, Md.
A burial service with U.S. Capitol Police and TROT SAR memorial ceremonies was scheduled to follow the memorial service at 2 p.m. that same day at Epiphany Episcopal Church of Forestville at 3111 Ritchie Road, District Heights, Md.
Tomi Finkle will be honored by TROT SAR members at the ceremony by the presence of a riderless horse, Tara Finkle said. Tara Finkle said that during the memorial service Capitol Police will present the family with an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in Tomi Finkle’s honor shortly after her death.