VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A new group hopes to change the relationship between police and the LGBTQ2S+ community for the better.
Out on Patrol is a newly launched peer support organization for LGBTQ2S+ law enforcement members and allies across B.C.
“The society is focused on community engagement, charitable work, and education,” reads the organization’s website.
Welcome to Out On Patrol! We are a non-profit society for #LGBTQ2S+ peace officers and civilian members, focused on peer support and the community. You don’t need to identify as to join, allies are welcome! See our website for more details https://t.co/i2tTJiXnOK #OutOnPatrol pic.twitter.com/I3i8h6EZcx
— Out On Patrol(@OutOnPatrol) May 26, 2020
Cst. Julien Ponsioen with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police helped start the network, and he acknowledges there’s room for improvement in the relationship between the LGBTQ2S+ community and police.
“I mean, there’s a lot of things that have happened in the past, unfortunately, which we have to address,” he tells NEWS 1130.
“We would like to help bridge the gap in between the two communities, and the only way we’re going to get to a place where things are better is by having some dialogue. If we can be a part of that, then we’re happy.”
He says the network will include officers and civilians working in law enforcement who identify as LGBTQ2S+, and says he would like to see dozens of officers across the province sign up and bring about change in their communities.
“If we could get 100 hundred members for the first few months, or for the first year, I think we would be thrilled with that. And then we’ll see where we can build it from there,” he says.
While the organization has started as a peer support network, Ponsioen says he would like to see it grow into something much larger, suggesting scholarships for LGBTQ2S+ one day.