TEP Foundation's relationship with the Shelby County Sheriff Department began in December 2011 when a group of Sheriff Academy corrections graduates received a half-day training in LGBTQ cultural competency. A renewed interest in the training followed Shelby County Sheriff participation in the Community Police Relations (CPR) project - a "partnership between citizens and law enforcement officers that is challenging both groups to overcome their differences and distrust to work together on the deepest problems of our community."
The MPD officer used anti-trans language and physical violence to gain compliance from Duanna after she was detained. Duanna suffered serious injuries. The offending officer was later terminated from the police department and served time in a Federal penitentiary. The City of Memphis awarded civil damages in a court settlement to the estate of Duanna Johnson (now deceased).
To his credit, Sheriff William Oldham is taking a proactive approach to prevent past abuses from happening again. He's ordered all his staff to be trained in LGBTQ cultural competency. The TEP Foundation applauds his leadership. If his officers apply the training, the public will experience more professional and respectful law enforcement and correctional officers, and the Shelby County Sheriff Department will significantly reduce the potential cost of civil rights lawsuits, personnel discipline, and termination of highly trained officers.
TEP Foundation provided training to the Shelby County Sheriff Department without charge. If you'd like to donate to the Foundation to help cover the cost of this and future training in Tennessee, visit the Foundation's donation page or click the "Donate Now" button on the right side of this page (desktop version only).
Many thanks to TEP Foundation Board member Anne Gullick and TEP Foundation Executive Director Chris Sanders for facilitating this training.