Gay Officers and Career Advancement in the LAPD
Re “LAPD Still Biased, Gays Allege,” Nov. 25: Equal treatment of homosexuals is the major civil rights issue of our time. As a parent of a gay son, I want him and everyone like him to be free from harassment as they pursue their chosen careers. It takes great courage to be an openly gay police officer in Los Angeles today. It is disappointing that the people who are supposed to protect us don’t respect differences among themselves.
Karen Heller Mason
As a 16-year veteran of the LAPD, I am sensitive to the individual issues depicted in the article, as experienced by the gay officers. But I will have to vehemently disagree with them in regard to career advancement opportunities.
There are myriad reasons why an officer is promoted, or not, within the LAPD. Those reasons encompass the broad range of the spectrum based on who the decision-makers are and where their biases, beliefs and allegiances lie. That is what happens when humans make decisions. I am a happily married white heterosexual who was born in Brazil. I speak Portuguese and Spanish fluently, and as a young officer I was always at the top in numbers of misdemeanor and felony arrests and traffic citations. I also had no personnel complaints on my file. I applied for promotion to training officer and was interviewed for the position more than 10 times before I got the job.
As a sergeant, I applied for specialized assignments in internal affairs five times, at air support division four times, vice twice, bomb squad twice, and on and on. What excuse can I use for not getting the jobs I applied for? Race? Ethnicity? Gender? Sexual orientation? Answer: none of the above.
If an employee does his or her best and focuses on the job at hand, promotions will come. Complaining and blaming are counterproductive and waste the needed energy one needs to compete.