By Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News
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NEW YORK — The NYPD’s department-issued cell phones are getting a new app that will allow cops to quickly access LGBTQ resources for city residents needing help, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Tuesday.
The map-based application is the first of its kind in the nation, said Rep. Ritchie Torres (D- Bronx), who joined Sewell at police headquarters to announce the cell phone upgrade.
“Now NYPD officers will have this critical information at their fingertips and we will be able to share it with the people we serve instantly,” Sewell said. “If someone is looking for LGBTQ appropriate support related to legal, medical, shelter, mental health or a host of other vital services, they can now turn to any NYPD officer for assistance.”
The resources can be accessed by category or address, so cops will be able to find the closest support for those seeking help. Sewell said the new app will be an “invaluable tool for providing crime victim assistance and facilitating community outreach.
“We will never stop strengthening the ties and fortifying the bridges we’ve built over the years,” she said.
The app will also be periodically updated so new resources or resources that weren’t listed before can be added, Sewell said.
“This is going to be a living, breathing application and we want to make it better as we go along,” Sewell said.
The new app comes five months after NYPD officers were allowed to disclose their sexual orientation in their personnel records — another first for law enforcement nationwide. So far, more than 800 NYPD employees have chosen to self-report their sexual orientation through the new system.
Sewell said the results were “very encouraging.”
The initiative, first suggested by the NYPD’s Gay Officers Action League, is expected to help the nation’s largest police force more effectively recruit members of the LGBTQ community, the group said.
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