The El Paso Police Department has introduced a set of new policies aimed at changing how “gender-diverse individuals” are treated by officers and other members of the force.
The move, which comes after months of consultation with LGBTQ community groups such as the Borderland Rainbow Center, will require police to ask about preferred pronouns and names, and prevent them from conducting searches to determine someone’s sex, among other things.
“Back in September of 2023 you directed the city manager and the city attorney to evaluate policies and training that would improve how transgender and gender diverse individuals will be identified by the El Paso Police Department, both internally and externally,” El Paso Executive Police Assistant Chief Zina Silva explained during a meeting on Tuesday, per KFOX14.
She noted that the force’s “primary responsibility” is to “respect and uphold the dignity, human rights, and constitutional rights of all persons,” before revealing some of the new changes.
Officers have been asked to gather data from those they apprehend, including their “preferred name, gender identity and pronoun,” with Silva adding that they will have to refer to them by whatever name they provide. Additionally, officers conducting frisks must verbalize the reasons leading to their suspicion.
The internal affairs department will provide quarterly reports documenting any complaints that may arise regarding “bias-based policing.”
While the move has been criticized by some, others, including Borderland Rainbow Center Executive Director Amber Perez, said it was a step in the right direction.
“We can’t change the past,” she said, per ABC7, “but what we can do is take this first moment and run with it, and continue the conversation, and to be able to speak to each other with respect, to speak to each other with this idea of ‘hey, it’s ok is sometimes we agree to disagree, but at the end of the day we’re all here to make our community better.'”