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Salt Lake City Cops Hunt Gays

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Salt Lake City Cops Hunt Gays

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

June 5 2006 - 1:00 pm ET

(Salt Lake City, Utah) Salt Lake City police are hunting down gays and lesbians. So are suburban Salt Lake forces. Not to arrest or harass but to offer them jobs.

On the weekend representatives from seven police departments were handing out recruitment literature during the city's gay pride celebration.

"The first purpose is to let the gay and lesbian community know that police departments in this valley are gay-friendly. Our second purpose is to do some recruiting," Cpt. Kyle Jones of the Salt Lake Police Department told KSL televison.

"I think there's an impression that police officers are homophobic. Years ago that may have been the case, but it's not the case now."

The pride booth manned by Jones and other officer attracted a lot attention.

"The police force, it's generally something you don't feel is friendly to the gay and lesbian population. But they seem to be. So that's a good thing," said pride-goer Brian Reeder.

For several years Salt Lake police have worked with gay community leaders, creating a public safety committee, but this is the first time police agencies have formally recruited at a gay pride event.

Jones said that the department already has LGBT officers but the force wants an increased presence on the force.

"We don't care about who you are or who your partner is. We care about, can you do good police work," he told KSL.

Despite being in one of the most conservative states in the country, the home of the Mormon Church, Salt Lake has one of America's most gay-positive mayors.

Last year Mayor Rocky Anderson issued an order granting health benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian city workers (story)

A conservative group took the issue to court arguing the order violated Utah's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. A judge in May ruled that offering benefits to same-sex couples was not illegal. (story)

But by the time a ruling came down city council had overruled Anderson's order and implemented a watered down version that replaces domestic partners with any "adult designee". Anderson, calling the measure "discriminatory" vetoed the measure, but the council overrode his veto and the amended ordinance now stands.

©365Gay.com 2006

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