Police GLBT liaison officer’s introduction draws crowd

By David Webb Staff Writer

Enthusiasm of audience that turned out to ask questions of law
enforcment, elected officials prompts plans for additional meeting



About 100 turn out for a crime panel at the John Thomas Gay and Lesbian Community Center featuring Laura Martin, police GLBT liaison officer; David Kunkle, chief of police; Mike Dupree, constable for Precinct 5; Angela Hunt, City Council member, District 14 and Pauline Medrano, City Council member, District 2.

A crime panel held at the John Thomas Gay and Lesbian Community Center last week was so successful that coordinators say they plan to schedule another one later in the year.

“We had standing room only, and we actually ran out of time,” said Erin Moore, president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance. “We need to do a follow-up, and we need to have it for longer.”

The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and the Resource Center of Dallas co-hosted the crime panel featuring law enforcement and elected officials on Feb. 16. Chief of Police David Kunkle, GLBT liaison officer Laura Martin, Constable Mike Dupree and City Council members Pauline Medrano and Angela Hunt answered questions from the audience during the discussion.
A reception for Martin, who was recently appointed to the position by Kunkle, was held after the discussion.

Martin said she was pleased that so many people turned out for the meeting. The room holds 75 people, and there were people standing in the hallway listening to the discussion.

“It was a very friendly meeting,” Martin said.

“We all remarked at the end that it was a pleasant meeting. People had a lot of questions, and we answered them to the best of our ability.”
Martin said several people never had the chance to ask their questions because the event ended before they could be called on.

“We will have to have more of these meetings in the future,” Martin said.
People in the audience asked about high crime rates in Oak Lawn, the possibility of crime moving from the entertainment district to residential areas and the possibility of installing cameras in the entertainment district.
Some people objected to the idea of cameras being installed.

“That’s kind of a controversial topic with a lot of people, especially in the Cedar Springs entertainment area where people don’t necessarily want to be seen,” Martin said.

Moore said the audience responded well to the law enforcement and elected officials and was particularly interested in Martin’s role. Martin, who is a lesbian, was appointed by Kunkle in an effort to improve relations with the GLBT community and increase the reporting of crimes by gay people.

“I think they are intrigued at this point,” Moore said. “They don’t really know how it is going to work and what benefit she will provide. But they are glad someone is addressing the community.”

Martin said her supervisor has advised her to make her role as GLBT liaison officer a priority over her other work as a patrol officer.

“I’m the point of contact for the community for people are uncomfortable with or don’t feel like they’ve had the response they wanted from the police department,” Martin said.

Martin, who has a phone number and e-mail address at the community center, said she has received several messages from members of the community. One was a three-page, anonymous letter sent to her at the police station with information about a drug dealer operating in nightclubs in Oak Lawn and Deep Ellum.Martin said she hopes the letter writer will contact her again because the information was unspecific.

“People are starting to come forward with information so that is good,” Martin said.

Martin said police officials are striving to reduce crime with the limited resources at their disposal.

“We simply do not have enough police on the streets now to do everything we would like to do,” Martin said.

To contact Martin through the community center, call 214-540-4470 or e-mail. police@rcdallas.org.
E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS
Dallas Voice accepts comments from readers about published material that may need correcting. Comments may be submitted to the senior editor by e-mail (editor@dallasvoice.com), telephone (214-754-8710 ext. 113) or via the U.S. Postal Service (Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor, Dallas TX 75204). Corrections and clarifications will appear in this space as needed.

An article in last week’s Dallas Voice gave all the details about a mandatory meeting for potential beneficiaries of the 2006 Dallas-Fort Worth Black Tie Dinner except one: the date. The meeting will take place on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Seminar Theater at the Adams Mark Hotel. A corrected version of the story appears on Page 15.

An article about the race for Precinct 5 Constable in the Democratic Party primary misspelled candidate Jaime Cortes’ name.
An article about Friends of Reverchon Park kicking off a campaign to upgrade the 46-acre park with a celebration gave the wrong date for the event and incorrectly identified its sponsor. The event was held on Feb. 23 at Heritage Auction Galleries.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, February 24, 2006.

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