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  1. #1
    Terminator's Avatar
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    San Francisco Police Department reaches around to the gay community

    Sitting in the hallway of San Francisco County Superior Court, Len Broberg seems like the most popular guy in the building.

    Lawyers, fellow police officers and even guys from his Bayview gang beat wave to him. His cell phone rings every 10 minutes. Voices sound from the police radio clipped to the collar of his Hawaiian shirt.

    Off the clock, Broberg, 50, is better known as the winner of the 1992 International Mr. Leather contest, co-anchor of KRON TV-4's 2005 Pride Parade telecast and a frequent emcee at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community fundraisers across the Bay Area.

    An 11-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, the last four on the Gang Task Force, Broberg is gay, one of only 20 such male officers on a force of 2,000. In a city that is 10 to 20 percent gay, San Francisco recruiters are making a special push to find more candidates such as Broberg as part of an overall effort to replace at least 700 retiring baby boomers in the next five years.

    The department's recruiting team is ramping up attendance at LGBT events and job fairs.

    "We want the number of gay officers to reflect the city's overall gay population," said Broberg, co-chairman of the department's Pride Alliance, a group that advocates for the hiring and promotion of LGBT officers.

    But so far, recruiting in the gay community has been difficult for many reasons, gay officers say, from fear of discrimination to stereotypes about the suitability of gays for the job. Promotions are equally rare because the AIDS crisis in the 1980s left the department with few senior gay officers.

    "People are not lining up," said Police Commissioner Theresa Sparks. "It's an issue of whether or not (police work) is an attractive profession for gay men."

    At the Castro Street Fair in October, there were far more requests for SFPD stickers and T-shirts than for employment applications. To festival attendees sucking lollipops and rushing to get to the Western line-dancing stage, recruiters' refrains of "We're hiring" fell flat.

    Perhaps stereotypes of gay men as passive, easy going and rule averse keep them away from strict, regimented police work, said San Francisco Police Officer David Gin, who is gay, a 27-year veteran and a frequent representative at recruiting events.

    "It's a paramilitary force," he said.

    But it's also the emphasis on partying that keeps a lot of gay men out of uniform, some recruiters say. "In the gay male population, there's a tendency to use recreational drugs, like meth or Ecstasy," Broberg said. "That eliminates you from the candidate pool."

    Others believe that reports of police brutality and bad press about the department hinder recruiting.

    Lesbians have had greater success in the department, accounting for 200 officers who fill ranks up to deputy chief. The highest-ranking gay man is a sergeant, of which there are exactly two.

    "Historically, if you look at law enforcement as a whole, it's going to be a tougher road to climb for a gay guy than a gay woman," said Sgt. Inspector Lea Militello, 47, a lesbian with 25 years on the force and a co-chairwoman of the Pride Alliance. She is hesitant to speculate why but offered, "Law enforcement is a primarily male-dominated field. Would a straight male officer have a more difficult time with a gay male officer or a gay female officer?"

    When it comes to San Francisco, though, Militello says discrimination is not the main reason lesbians outnumber and outrank gay men.

    "Sheer numbers," she said. In the 1980s and '90s, the department lost almost 80 percent of its gay men to AIDS, Militello said. And until the current recruiting effort, the department relied on word of mouth to attract new gay officers.

    In his 21/2 decades on the force, Gin applied for promotion only once. "I took the sergeant's test in the '80s and eventually I decided it wasn't for me," he said. "I didn't want to get involved with the politics and possibly the harassment."

    In Gin's early days on the force, he said fellow officers were verbally abusive to gay officers, vandalized their belongings or wrote offensive graffiti on their lockers. Stories of straight officers refusing to ride with gay counterparts or calling in sick when assigned to patrol with a gay officer were not uncommon.

    Gin decided he was much happier doing patrol. "You'd be supervising people who didn't want you being there in the first place."

    Newer officers such as Broberg said the department is much better now. Thanks to the trailblazers before him, his experience for the most part has been "very, very positive," he said. He took the sergeant's test in September and will find out early next year if he gets the promotion.

    People sometimes make homophobic remarks, Broberg said. But he believes such problems come from individuals, not the department as a whole.

    "Everyone wants to paint things in such broad strokes," he said. "But the issues I've had are not something I can attribute to the culture or attitude of the department."

    Broberg graduated from the academy in 1995 at age 39 after careers in telecommunications and the hotel industry. After his field training, he worked at the Bayview Hunter's Point Station until 2002, when he was transferred to the Gang Task Force.

    Like many other LGBT officers, Broberg says being gay helps him on the job. "Because I have been discriminated against in the past, I can be more empathetic to people I come across -- disenfranchised groups, poor people, victims."

    For instance, a gay crime victim living in the housing projects in Bayview recognized Broberg from a picture in the Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco's LGBT newspaper. When Broberg confirmed his identity, the victim relaxed and offered more details about his assailant.

    "When you have something in common with someone, it opens them up," Broberg said.

    "He's an institution," said Broberg's friend, Terry Anderson, 47. The two met at a gay fundraising event where Broberg, the volunteer auctioneer, auctioned a date with Anderson for charity.

    Broberg sees his achievements as further paving the way for other gay men to enter a historically discriminatory institution. In addition to formal recruiting efforts of the department, Broberg does his part to promote police work among his friends and community.

    "The SFPD is a great place to work," he says. "Whenever I do events, I talk a lot about the fact that I'm gay and that we're looking."

  2. #2
    BEK's Avatar
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    hahahahahahahahaha well at least they reach around... for them that dont....BASTARDS

  3. #3
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    +1 Always have to give a good reach around. FSCF does not do that......

  4. #4
    Piggybank Cop's Avatar
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    How about looking for the most qualified?

    I know Im so old fashioned.

    I don't give a shit who or what they are, as long as they're another blue brick in the wall.
    We are the thin blue line
    between you
    and all the money in the world.

    And no you can't have any.

  5. #5
    JLK's Avatar
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    In the 1980s and '90s, the department lost almost 80 percent of its gay men to AIDS,

    natural selection

    "A strong man stands up for himself. A stronger man stands up for others."

    The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented
    on his wearing his sidearm. "Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you
    expecting trouble?" "No Ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have
    brought my rifle."
    (just stole this one hope you don't mind)

    The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant,
    it is just that they know so much that isn't so.
    President Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1sgkelly View Post
    How about looking for the most qualified?
    That, my good man, would make too much damn sense. And we can't have that, now can we?
    The virtue of spirit has no need for thanks or approval. Only the certain conviction that what has been done is right. -Jor El, as played by Marlon Brando

  7. #7
    Lazy Fed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Man View Post
    +1 Always have to give a good reach around. FSCF does not do that......
    Hey WTF?????

    Sorry I get all giddy and forgot to give you the reach around
    dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Smart Ass
    Life is to short not to experience Lazy Fed
    ___ ___ ___
    {o,o} {-.-} {0,0}
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    -"-"- -"-"- -"-"-
    O RLY?? YA RLY NO WAI!!!!

    The incoherent statements given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency or any other person for that matter. They are MY PERSONAL DELUSIONAL FANTASIES and I accept sole responsibility as such as I am either drunk or stressed out of my mind.

  8. #8
    Iron Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fscf3801 View Post
    Sorry I get all giddy and forgot to give you the reach around

    It happens.... I was just "unfulfilled" and felt like a use piece of trash...

  9. #9
    10-42Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1sgkelly View Post
    How about looking for the most qualified?

    I know Im so old fashioned.

    I don't give a shit who or what they are, as long as they're another blue brick in the wall.
    Plus positive rep for that one. Well said!

    Shit. Sorry 1sgkelly, I'd give you some rep but according to the forum I have to "spread some around" before I can give you some. I guess I just agree with a lot of your statements!!!
    Last edited by 10-42Adam; 11-07-06 at 09:31 PM.
    Calm Like A Bomb...

    A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
    -Winston Churchill



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