Justice News

Associate Attorney General Tony West Delivers Remarks at the Community Relations Service Transgender Law Enforcement Training
United States
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thank you, Director Lum, for that warm welcome. I am very pleased to be with you this morning to help kick off the Community Relations Service’s new Transgender Law Enforcement Training.

This training has been in the works for some time now.  For the last several years, the Justice Department at various levels has engaged in a constructive dialogue, animated by common aspirations and common concerns, with LGBT leaders throughout the country.  And one of the many ideas we’ve received finds its manifestation in today’s gathering:  a transgender law enforcement cultural professionalism training.

It’s clear that such a training is as necessary as it is overdue.  Because too often, in too many places, we know that transgender victims are discouraged from reporting hate crimes and hate violence due to their past negative interactions with and perceptions of law enforcement.  We know that such experiences have undermined the confidence transgender victims have in our justice system:  they’ve sown seeds of distrust; they’ve created fear where there should be reassurance; and they’ve led victims of crime to think twice about seeking the assistance of or cooperating with law enforcement.

By helping us turn the page on these painful experiences, today’s training will help lay a stronger foundation of trust between LGBT communities that are disproportionately the victims of hate violence — particularly the transgender community – and those who are charged with the awesome responsibility of protecting and serving.

And there is no better DOJ component to take the lead in this effort than CRS.  Under both the Attorney General’s and Grande’s leadership, CRS has redoubled its dedication to its mission under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act:  to help communities prevent and respond to hate violence, and to build stronger communities in the process.

Indeed, one of CRS’ core strengths lies in its singular ability to convene parties who are in conflict and get them to work together.  It’s a skill CRS has been exercising for nearly 50 years, since it was established under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  That’s thousands of cases resolved; thousands of disputes mediated; and thousands of peaceful outcomes obtained across this nation by the dedicated efforts of CRS conciliators.
Today’s launch of the Transgender Law Enforcement Training is yet another important step in the right direction.  It’s what the pursuit of justice can look like in the 21st century.

Let me close by saying that as someone who has been privileged to work with law enforcement for most of my career -- first as a federal prosecutor in a U.S. Attorney's Office, then as an attorney in the California Attorney General's Office, and now as part of the Department’s leadership – I have a deep appreciation and admiration for those who take on the extremely difficult duties of serving in law enforcement.  Theirs is not an easy task and for most, excellence is their yardstick.

Today’s training will help these dedicated women and men in uniform achieve that goal of excellence in service.  That is why I’m so grateful to all of you who are here to help make today’s session a success.

It’s now my great pleasure to introduce another dedicated law enforcement leader, Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole.

Updated September 17, 2014