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Sexuality and Culture

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 1–23 | Cite as

“To Protect and to Serve?”: An Exploration of Police Conduct in Relation to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community

  • Kristina B. WolffEmail author
  • Carrie L. Cokely
Articles

Abstract

While there are studies that focus specifically on hate crimes, especially anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender motivated violence, little research has been done to examine the role that law enforcement officials play in responding to crimes related to the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) community. This study, therefore, attempts to do just that. Using traditional content-analysis techniques, we examine 1,896 incident reports that were collected by a GLBT advocacy group in Minnesota, between 1990 and 2000, to begin to understand the range of police responses in relation to the GLBT community. Results indicate that while police conduct improved, negative responses and behaviors on the part of law enforcement officials outnumbered positive responses. The most common complaint by Helpline callers was inadequate response by the police; there were also numerous callers indicating that they were further victimized at the hands of the law enforcement officials. The data suggest a continued need for the education of law enforcement officials regarding issues facing the GLBT community, advocacy for victims of crime who are many times reluctant to report an incident to the police and increased attention to issues of oversight and accountability for officers who are responding to calls for help from the GLBT community.

Keywords

GLBT Violence Police conduct Anti-Violence Programs 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Maine at FarmingtonFarmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Meredith CollegeRaleighUSA

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