UCF police working to help Orlando officers, Orange County deputies with LGBTQ+ inclusion

Deputies, officers taking part in UCF’s Safe Zone training

UCF police announced a partnership to expand its "Safe Place" initiative to further protect the LGBTQ+ community.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – As pride month begins Wednesday, the University of Central Florida Police Department is announcing an expansion of a program to increase LGBTQ+ inclusion at UCF.

UCFPD has brought UCF’s Safe Zone training to members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Orlando Police Department.

“We want all of our LGBTQ+ community to feel safe when reporting a crime,” UCF Officer Ashley Gonzalez-Montanez said.

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The program is designed to reduce homophobia and transphobia at UCF by maintaining an LGBTQ+ affirming environment and culture.

According to UCF, 17 officers and community members took part in the training last month, which includes a foundation of terminology and understanding of sexual and gender identity pronouns.

“It goes a long way when somebody takes that little moment to (ask) ‘Hey, how would you like me to refer to you as?’” Gonzalez-Montanez said.

Together, all three agencies have worked with businesses at UCF Downtown so everyone can recognize places of support and assistance.

“The reaction we got from (business owners) was incredible. They were so happy to be a part of this program,” Orlando Police Sgt. Amanda White said. “They were like, ‘This is great that you’re here showing your support for us, but that we can also show support for the community as well.’”

Officials said the UCF Safe Zone training is available to anyone in the community.

For details about the program, click here.


About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.