Atlanta Police Chief George Turner has named Officer Kristin Knight as the newest LGBT liaison to serve the department.
Officer Knight will join Officer Brian Sharp as one of two LGBT liaisons for the department. She replaces Senior Police Officer Patricia Powell, who is moving on to a new position with the department’s Background & Recruitment Unit.
“I’m looking forward to this wonderful and challenging opportunity to serve as a link between the LGBT community and the brave men and women of the Atlanta Police Department,” Officer Knight said in a release. “As a proud member of both the gay community and the APD, I will take great pride and care in ensuring we continue our mutual respect and understanding. The LGBT liaisons are instrumental in helping foster those partnerships that are at the core of our mission here at APD.”
Knight, a native of Milford, Conn., joined the department in 2005 and worked as a patrol officer in Zone 5, covering Downtown and Midtown. Last year, Knight joined the department’s Community Liaison Unit in the Community Oriented Policing Section, serving Zone 5.
Powell has served as the department’s LGBT liaison for two years, serving such in the wake of the September 2009 Atlanta Eagle raid, in which dozens of officers unlawfully searched, detained and/or arrested patrons at the Atlanta Eagle bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue, a hotspot for the gay community.
The previous liaison was not involved or notified of the raid that resulted in police finding nothing incriminating on any of the almost 60 Atlanta Eagle patrons. In the time since, the LGBT liaison unit has been increased to two officers, while an LGBT citizen advisory board has also been created.
“We’ve made great strides in strengthening our relationship with the LGBT community and I expect Officer Knight will keep up the great work already done by SPO Powell and Officer Sharp,” said Chief Turner in a statement.
The department has actively recruited members of the LGBT community, and Powell is expected to assist in its continued efforts to diversify its ranks. The department’s LGBT liaisons’ have a multi-fold mission of improving communications and relationships with the community and the APD LGBT Advisory Board, as well as increasing awareness, training and knowledge of LGBT issues within the department.
“I am proud of the work our LGBT liaisons have done on behalf of the Atlanta Police Department and the City of Atlanta,” said Mayor Kasim Reed in a news release. “They provide a valuable link to Atlanta’s vibrant and diverse LGBT community, and I am confident that Officer Knight will excel in her new position.”