The Fort Worth City Council expressed confidence in Police Chief Jeff Halstead following the council’s executive session on Tuesday, Sept. 9, reaffirming that the LGBT ally isn’t going anywhere.
The Black Law Enforcement Officers’ Association recently called for Halstead’s resignation after an independent review detailed incidents of harassment and hostility within the police department. The report suggested some instances of racial bias and race-related harassment. A copy of the report is here.
After the session, Mayor Betsy Price, City Manager David Cooke and Halstead issued the 3-E Action Plan, guaranteeing “equity and equality for everyone.” The plan includes ongoing outreach efforts to minority communities and six annual meetings with both the African-American and Hispanic associations.
Cooke said his office will “be directly involved in monitoring [its] progress.”
Cooke also signaled the council’s support in a statement: “This department will see in our actions that diversity is valued; that any disparate treatment not related to merit will not be tolerated; and that any incidents of a hostile work environment will be handled quickly and appropriately.”
Check out this week’s Dallas Voice for the full story.
The family of Fairness Fort Worth President Thomas Anable reacted to his loss in a statement Monday through family spokesman Paul Valdez.
The statement mentions the shock of Anable’s sudden death after he took his own life this weekend, but focuses on the advocacy work that he’d held so dear since becoming an “accidental activist” after the Rainbow Lounge led him to pursue LGBT equality in Tarrant County and beyond.
“As we mourn his tragic death, we must always remember and celebrate what he accomplished, not only for Fort Worth and Dallas, but on a national stage for both advocacy and empowerment. He taught us about moving forward and making a difference,” the statement reads.
“Tom was a beautiful soul, with a heart of gold, and we are devastated by his loss. Though we may never fully understand his death, our family has chosen to celebrate his life and the amazing legacy he leaves to us all.”
Anable’s death has been ruled suicide by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. He died from a gunshot wound to the head. He was 58.
Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead also released a statement Monday, saying he was “very saddened to hear the news about Tom.”
“Tom was a personal friend, a trusted colleague, and an inspiration. His advocacy for the LGBTQ community opened many eyes, including my own,” Halstead said. “Tom worked passionately to improve police department’s ‘hate crime’ policies and investigative protocols.”
Fairness Fort Worth, which Anable helped launch and has led since June 2010, played an integral role in mending the relationship between the police department and the LGBT community after the Rainbow Lounge raid.
“The Fort Worth Police Department is forever indebted to Tom for bridging the gap and strengthening our enduring commitment to work together for fairness and equality,” Halstead said in the statement.
A candlelight vigil honoring Anable will be held at the Rainbow Lounge at 7 p.m. Wednesday. A memorial service will then follow at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead, center, with the Rev. Carol West and David Mack Henderson of Fairness Fort Worth
One of the ways that Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead has been trying to reach out to the LGBT community in his city, following the raid on the Rainbow Lounge last summer, is to actively recruit police trainees from the LGBT community. In keeping with that effort, FWPD liaison to the LGBT community Officer Sara Straten sent me an e-mail this morning about the department’s current recruitment efforts.
I posted something about this here on Instant Tea not too long ago, but this time, I have a little more info. So here you go.
FWPD will be accepting applications online for police officer trainees from July 22 to Aug. 6. To apply, go here, and look for the Police Officer Trainee link.
The FW Police Academy course is 31 weeks long, and trainees receive a salary of $37,377 per year ( or $3,114/month) plus benefits during training. Those who graduate and join the force get a raise to $52,187 per year (or $4,348/month). And those who have military experience and G.I. Bill benefits can access those benefits during training.
The FWPD recruiter is Officer David Garcia. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.