The UK Police Department is committed to the safety of the UK campus and strives to build trust among all community members. Furthering UK’s commitment to create a community of belonging for everyone on campus, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe created two liaison positions dedicated to fostering relationships within the LGBTQ* community at UK.
Officer Andy Eilertson and Officer Holly Williams are the first LGBTQ* Liaisons at UK’s Police Department and are openly gay. Together, Eilertson and Williams work closely with the Office of Institutional Diversity’s LGBTQ* Resources Director Lance Poston to help build mutual trust, respect and understanding between LGBTQ* members and UK Police.
“Establishing the LGBTQ* Liaison positions is the first step of many to actively demonstrate our support and begin building relationships with members of the LGBTQ* community,” said Chief Monroe. “My hope is that through opening direct lines of communication through our liaisons, we learn from one another and clear the path of advocacy for others.”
Historically, members of the LGBTQ* community in places across the country have had negative experiences with law enforcement. As a result, although a significant percentage of the LGBTQ* population have experienced harassment and discrimination, there often is reluctance to turn to police. Having these liaisons who identify with diverse sexual orientations is one important effort to change that mindset.
“I want to be able to give them assistance as a police officer and member of the LGBTQ* community,” said Officer Eilertson. “We have faced some of the same struggles and can more likely relate to what they are going through.”
Building strong relationships is key to public safety and the well-being of UK’s community. In addition to having liaisons, UK Police will participate in 101 SafeZone training to give officers a stronger knowledge base of strategies to demonstrate support. UK Police will also act as host for several STARR self-defense classes for members who identify as LGBTQ* and are open to finding new ways to enhance sensitivity and support within the community.
"We value our LGBTQ* liaisons with UK Police as an integral part of our work toward belonging and safety for everyone who receives life-giving education or life-sustaining care on our campus,” said Lance Poston, director of LGBTQ* Resources at UK. “Our two liaison officers are wonderful bridges for constructive community dialogue and resources for our students, faculty, and staff."