This fall with support from SAGA, the Tucson Police Department rolled out a new program to provide safe shelter for LGBTQ individuals who find themselves in an emergency situation. “It’s basically an anti-LGBTQ bullying and crime effort that involves local businesses partnering with the police department to offer a safe place.” After consultations with Southern Arizona Gender Alliance representatives, TPD initiated the program with a few downtown businesses and have already had inquires from many more.

Participating businesses display a rainbow badge decal so safety threatened individuals can have a safe place to make police reports and wait for police to respond. All of the officers who are responsible for the downtown area have been trained by SAGA and SAAF in transgender awareness issues and LGBTQ concerns. SAGA also offers training to participating businesses and their employees.

The Safe Place program is all about building respect and tolerance, knowledge, and understanding between businesses, the police, and the LGBTQ community.

The program is currently limited to TPD’s Downtown Division, which consists of downtown, 4th Avenue and Main Gate areas. However, they hope to expand it to the rest of the city sometime in 2017.