AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department revealed a brightly-colored PRIDE car Wednesday, the final day of Pride Month, and says the vehicle will join the department’s celebrations during Austin’s Pride parade in August. The department said this month it also became the first department in Texas to adopt a Pride patch for its officers and civilian staff to wear in June and during the parade.
The department worked with the Lesbian and Gay Peace Officers Association and Cops for Charities to create the patch and an accompanying hat.
“The Austin Police Department has taken many steps forward in helping us try to build strong, lasting ties with the LGBTQ+ community here in Austin. Today is no exception,” President of the Lesbian & Gay Peace Officer’s Association Sgt. Michael Crumrine said. “[This] reemphasizes the importance of relationship, the importance of building and working with the community and developing community trust.”
The design of the new car incorporates logos for NOH8 and APD Safe Place. According to its website, in 2019 APD became the first police agency in the state to implement the Safe Place program, which began in Seattle as its police department worked “to address low reporting of anti-LGBTQ+ crimes. The goal is to increase public trust in law enforcement and feelings of safety in the community.” Businesses sign up as partners to help victims of hate crimes or bias incidents, help them call 911 and provide a space for them to stay while they wait for police. People can find these businesses by looking for rainbow-colored stickers on their windows that say “SAFE PLACE” or “LUGAR SEGURO.”
“Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon and APD celebrate diversity within its ranks, and encourage all employees to live and serve as their authentic selves. We are privileged to serve Austin’s vibrant community and continue to make strides in being true public servants to all, including members of the LGBTQ+ Community,” the department wrote in a press release.
At the time, then-Chief Brian Manley said an attack on a gay couple in downtown Austin earlier that year prompted a sense of urgency for the department.