SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco police officers are sporting a new Pride patch on their uniforms as part of an effort to increase law enforcement understanding and support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Officer Mike Petuya, treasurer of the SFPD Pride Alliance--a group for gay officers-- joined us Wednesday on KTVU's The 4. He came up with the idea for the Pride patches to highlight the diversity and inclusiveness of the police force.
"It really shows the community that we as officers are members of the community as well. We have out members of the LGBTQ community at almost every rank of the department. We regularly interact with people in the community. When they see us we want to make sure that they know that they know that we are one with them," Petuya said.
The SFPD Pride patch isn't the first of its kind to commemmorate Pride for departments across the nation. Department's like Salem P.D. in Massachusetts showed their pride last fall. But it is a way to increase awareness and it is unique in the sense that officers can wear them.
"We want to encourage other departments around the nation to jump on board, similar to the Pink Patch project which was for breast cancer [awareness]," said Petuya.
The Pride Patch is for sale with 100% of the proceeds going towards Larkin Street Youth Services.
"They're one of my favorite charities in the city. They directly help youth homelessness in the city. They provide so many essential services to these young people that they would otherwise not have access to."
In addition to the patches, SFPD has a Pride Patrol vehicle, which will be used year-round as a recruiting tool and community engagement.
"It's our biggest symbol for how far San Francisco has come," Petuya said. "We get to have this car year round and show people that we are members of the community."
The SFPD Pride Alliance donated the funds to have the car made. The funds for the patches also came from the SF Police Officers Association. Petuya said officers are buying the patches with their own money and putting them on their uniforms.
"There's so many other law enforcement officers in our country in particular and other countries who love the ideas of the patches. They're envious that we're doing this and they want to jump on board."
Petuya said he hopes the Pride patches catch on and spread across the nation.