Justice Dept. Offers Cops Advice on Not Being Jerks Toward Transgender Citizens

Useful training or basic manners?


Traffic stop
Justice Dept.

The Department of Justice's Community Relations Service bills itself as "America's Peacemaker," authorized and funded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Act. Their job is to send mediators and advisors out into communities to help with "community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability." They are not an investigatory or prosecutorial agency. They are there to try to advise local police and governmental agencies on dealing with these tensions.

That you've probably never heard of them might be considered an indicator of their level of success. Their most recent report available online is for 2014, the year Michael Brown as shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, prompting outrage, protests, and some very militarized responses from police that arguably made the situation worse. They spend a couple of pages of the report talking about how they sent people to Ferguson to advise and facilitate meetings within the communities and essentially trying to keep things from spinning out of control. That their summary of participation stops short of actually pointing to any concrete positive outcomes that resulted from their mediation efforts says a lot.

When it comes to helping resolve community tensions over justice issues, the report notes that the top reason they deploy mediators is over hate crime-related concerns. But after that, the second reason is to deal with police-community relations (or the lack thereof). The number three reason they get deployed to mediate is due to tension over police misconduct or use of force. And the number four reason they get deployed is due to complaints about biased policing or racial profiling. So of the top four reason the Community Relations Service gets deployed, three are about how the police treat people. Keep this in mind whenever police abuse issues are referred to as a "training matter." The Department of Justice actually has people they send out to communities on a regular basis to help provide training whenever necessary already.

They also have a handful of training videos out, and they've just released a training video to help police officers interact with transgender citizens without being jerks. There's really no better way to describe the video. It's a training video that exists for the purpose of "training" police officers to treat the people with whom they interact with respect. As Sgt. Brett Parson notes while narrating the video, "If someone feels disrespected, they're less likely to trust us or cooperate," a lesson that obviously applies to everybody, not just transgender folks.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the video. But it just seems like one of those things that assumes that police officers who treat transgender people poorly are doing so because they don't know the right way to behave and not because they don't care and know they won't be held accountable for behaving badly. And it provides the simplest of examples as case studies where officers don't really have to deal with any complicated matters (like when a transgender person is actually arrested) to make it really easy to know what's the actual right thing to do.

Watch the video below. Incidentally, the Community Relations Service's YouTube channel has 18 whole subscribers. They began posting videos 10 months ago.

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  1. Has everyone forgotten the Community Relations Service’s moment of glory?

    “In 1978, a mediation team from the Community Relations Service [CRS] of the United States Department of Justice attempted to mediate the dispute between residents of Skokie, the predominantly Jewish suburb of Chicago and the Nazi party members of the National Socialists Party of America. This dispute involved a number of issues of legal and legislative significance. After a series of complicated negotiations, the Nazis canceled the Skokie demonstration.”

    1. Was the part from Blues Brothers?

    2. I hate Illinois Nazis

      1. Speaking of which, I’m assuming that since this happened in Zion that an Illinois Nazis did this.…..ent-center

    3. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do…

  2. So, is it the cop’s job to first ask someone ‘are you transgender?’, and if the person says yes, they have to be all nice, but if not they’re just allowed to be the typical thuggish pricks? If so, why not as soon as you are pulled over just say ‘I’m transgendered, neener, neener, neener!’, What an enlightened society we live in. Libertarian moment!

  3. I wish the world would just move on to the next made up bullsh*t deception tactic.

    For one thing this whole thing is just tired and beyond ridiculous. Secondly, I’m kind of looking forward to how stupid the next one will be.

    1. NExt up: “Furry rights”. Then “Otherkin rights”.

  4. So when will these “transgendered” stop being jerks and pretending they are something they are not?

  5. Are transgender people being rudely treated in low-level, moving violation stops across America?


    I don’t know any transgender people or if I do, I’m not aware, but I know plenty of non-transgender people who were treated like crap by officers stopping them for tail lights or minor moving violations. Yours truly included.

    Perhaps we could broaden this video to apply to… everyone? Or am I Hitler for suggesting that?

    And part b: Is this a hill I should die on?

    1. Yours truly included.

      Yeah, but you deserved, you cis-hetero male shitlord!

      am I Hitler for suggesting that?

      We’re all Hitler.

  6. 18 subscribers, huh Shack? I assume it’s 17 if we don’t include you and Sugarfree’s mom?

    1. Oh shit! I mean 16…

      1. I assumed you were implying that Shackford is SugarFree’s mom.

  7. And here’s the other thing for which the Community Relations Service has become known – WWE style smackdowns!

  8. Why did the officer ask the woman in the car if she preferred ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’?

    I would presume that if there was a question in his mind, that once he saw the name on the license, it would have been obvious? For instance, no one looks at my license and asks me if I prefer ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’.

    They usually just resort to ‘dumbass’.

  9. You know how we get rid of this bullshit? Everyone start doing exactly this:

    You: *shows up at job interview*

    Potential Employer: So, first let’s talk about your resume and job qualificiations.

    You: You’re not allowed to ask me that!

    Potential Employer: Whaa… excuse me, what did you say?

    You: You’re not allowed to ask me, because I have special person status! I’m in a protected group!

    Potential Employer: Uh, well, what group would that be? Are you a racial minority or…

    You: You can’t ask me that! It’s racist and sexist bigot!

    Potential Employer: But, all I…

    You: Give me the damn job or I’m reporting you now!

  10. “Their job is to send mediators and advisors out into communities to help with “community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability.” They are not an investigatory or prosecutorial agency. They are there to try to advise local police and governmental agencies on dealing with these tensions.”

    They’re bullshit artists!

    1. When I read that particular quote, all that cam to mind was:

      Stuart Smalley is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist.

  11. Hello ummm Pat.

  12. “Hi! I’m Troy McClure! You might remember me from other Police Sensitivity-Training videos such as “Patting Down Pat: A Fistful Of Crotch” or “That Handsome-Lady Takes a Punch Like a Man“. Think you can judge a book by its cover? We’re going to explore some fun and surprising scenarios where White Knighting might make You the Court Jester!”

    1. That’s…really well done.

      And as ever, RIP Phil Hartman.

      1. Domestic violence victim.

    2. *standing ovation*

      1. *Joins with enthusiastic applause*

  13. Since transgendered cannot be scientifically quantified at any given moment in time, I can always be whatever I want. The Obamamessiah has shown us the way. The next time you are pulled over and they ask you if you prefer maam or sir, just say that you are offended because you are neither or both and demand to be called by the correct term. When they ask you again what the correct term is, just say ‘I don’t know but you better get it right or I’ll be offended and I’m reporting you’. Hope that the nice officers have a sense of humor and you don’t get tazed, beaten, or shot, or all three.

  14. Redneck Caller: “Hello, Department of Justice?

    Bureaucrat: “Yes”.

    Redneck Caller: “Is this the Community Relations Service”

    Bureaucrat: “Yes”.

    Redneck Caller: “I’ve got an employee. He’s trans . . . some kinda queerbait, and he’s black, and now he says he’s Jewish. He’s stealing lipstick out of the other girls’ purses in the office, and now he won’t work past sundown on Fridays. What the fuck am I supposed to do?”

  15. I’m impressed by the policewoman in the video…she certainly looks like a man.

  16. Out tax dollars at work.

    1. *Our*

  17. I guess there just wasn’t any need for broad based training in de-escalation, trigger discipline, target awareness, or anything else which might help resolve any recent issues between law enforcement and the public.

    And this must be a HUGE problem, right? Tons of documented incidents, with fatalities, in which bad things happened for which analysis proved training like this might reduce bad incidents?

    I mean because if this isn’t a real big problem and if there were to be other very large problems, with fatalities, then it would seem to indicate the DOJ doesn’t really care about the citizens it’s supposed ?o protect, wouldn’t it? Really, if this were true, I might go so far as to say this would prove the DOJ is more interested in overt political statements than they are justice and even more than others’ lives.

    But that cannot be true, as I’ve been promised that we’re so much smarter these days and these are TopMen.


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