The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) recently announced its new, progressive policy addressing police interactions with transgender and non-binary people. The policy applies to all police interactions, whether as suspects, arrestees, victims or witnesses.
Our office—the Office of LGBT Affairs—and members of the trans and non-binary communities played vocal role in the creation and review of the new policy.
PPD’s new policy—Directive 4.15—offers a clear guide for unbiased day-to-day interactions with transgender and non-binary people, as well as individuals who are being detained or transported.
Under the new policy, officers will:
- Be required to record a person’s chosen name on paperwork, in addition to legal name (if different).
- Use a person’s chosen name and pronouns when interacting with transgender people, regardless of what may be listed on their ID.
- Use a person’s chosen name and pronouns when speaking to the media about transgender people.
- Transport transgender people who are in custody to the nearest medical facility to address immediate medical needs, including hormone therapy.
- When possible, transport and house transgender people who are in custody separately from other incarcerated people.
- Ensure transgender people have the opportunity to express a preference for the gender of the officer who searches them, and honor that preference unless doing so would compromise the safety of others.
Transgender and non-binary have historically faced humiliating, hurtful treatment during their interactions with law enforcement. The new PPD policy aims to provide clear instructions to personnel in order to prevent such incidents in Philadelphia.