How Campus Cops Can Become Allies of the LGBTQ+ Community

The Washington University in St. Louis Police Department has embraced Safe Zone training to better support LGBTQ+ students, staff, administrators and faculty.

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Numerous studies have found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer (LGBTQ+) students often experience challenges in school.

Campus Safety Voices, available on Spotify and Apple streaming platforms, features timely conversations on a wide range of topics affecting K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and healthcare facilities.

According to a study conducted last year by the Trevor Project, 40% of LGBTQ+ youth and more than 50% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported having “seriously considered” suicide in the past 12 months. Approximately 15% of respondents said they attempted suicide in the past year.

It is critical then, for colleges and universities to cultivate a safe and supportive environment for members of their LGBTQ+ community. This is particularly true for campus public safety, police and security departments.

One agency that is leading the way in this area is the Washington University in St. Louis Police Department. The entire department has completed Safe Zone training to help officers become better allies of LGBTQ+ students, staff, administrators and faculty.

In this podcast, I interviewed Colonel Mark Glenn about Safe Zone’s training. Glenn, who is also one of this year’s Director of the Year finalists, talks about the benefits of his officers taking Safe Zone training.

“[The classes provide] a lot of opportunities for our team to ask questions in a really open and non-judgmental space so they can learn,” he says.

Glenn also talks about how this training not only helped his officers develop good relations with the LGBTQ+ community, but with other communities on campus.

“I just think it’s one of those overlooked programs,” he says. “Many people think they understand how to communicate with every member of our community, but that’s not always the case. There’s always a little nuance to each community, and [the training] really gave us the tools to be able to talk.”

The Director of the Year winner will be announced at this year's Campus Safety Conference being held in San Antonio, Texas, July 21-23. Click here for more information and to register!

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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