TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "TPD is here for you and that's every single person in our community; we have to have difficult conversations if we're going to move our community forward."
Moving Tallahassee forward; that's what the LGBTQ+ Advisory Council did Monday night. The council called on Police Chief Lawrence Revell to address his speech at a recent Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Law Enforcement Appreciation Retreat. Some in the community call that association anti-LGBTQ. The Chief says he took part in the event to support officers and their families.
"It's like I said in the very beginning, I want us as a community to have these conversations I said from the time I became Chief," Revell said.
Monday's meeting was called after community outcry over the chief's appearance at the Association. Friday, Franklin Graham, President & CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association told ABC 27:
"We love gay people and I want them to know the same truth that has changed my life—God loves us."
Despite this response, several local advocacy groups have called for Chief Revell to resign. Including the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC).
"We want a real apology and we want an admittance that this is an issue of ethics," TCAC member Delilah Pierre said.
Jon Harris Maurer is a member of the LGBTQ+ Advisory Council.
"I think that a lot of trust and faith from the LGBTQ community has been lost and I don't feel that we have restored that yet I think there's a long way still to go," Maurer added.
Other community members are in full support of the chief, saying he's accepting of LGBTQ+ coworkers. Sharyn Kerwin came to Monday's meeting to stand up for the chief.
"A lot of his employees and some of the community they really believe he is doing a great job treating everyone fairly and equally without bias," Kerwin said.
Chief Revell says the Tallahassee Police Department takes part in diversity training every year and wants the community to know.
"We can have those conversations and we can disagree about stuff and that doesn't mean we have to be enemies."
The council plans to have more conversations going forward to address these issues and they want to hear from everyone in the community at their monthly meetings.