The Badge Isn’t a Shield: Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, D.C.’s GLLU Supervisor | Not in Our Town

The Badge Isn’t a Shield: Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, D.C.’s GLLU Supervisor

By Brian Krans

The goal of all community minded police officers should be to make themselves obsolete.

Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) supervisor for the Metro D.C. Police Department, says that’s an ideal situation.

“Eventually my goal is so that we don’t need a specialized unit for a marginalized population,” she said. “I’d be happy to put myself out of a job.”

But the reality—considering some societal temperaments regarding transgender people—is that Hawkins work is greatly needed as the majority of hate crimes in our nation’s capital involve gay men and transgender women.

“We have a large number of hate crimes directed towards these two groups of people,” she said.”When they have an emergency, they call [the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit] instead of 911. They might have concerns they might not want to share with your traditional officer. They know they’ll be taken seriously.”

A Hate Crime Victim Herself

Hawkins began as a reserve officer in 1994, started with the Washington, D.C., police department in 2000, and made sergeant in January 2014. A month later, she came out as a transgender woman.

“It was received well by the majority of officers,” she said.

That doesn’t mean the badge shields Hawkins from being a victim herself. Recently, she was being harassed by a group of citizens and one threatened “to cut me open to see what I really was,” Hawkins said.

That was a dumb move. Not only is Hawkins a police officer, but her being a transgender woman made the incident a hate crime. He was charged accordingly.

“It’s difficult being a transgendered police officer on the streets,” she said. “It’s impossible to not take my work home, but thankfully I have really good friends.”

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