Charleston PD Launches ‘Safe Place Program’ for LGBTQ Community

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Charleston Police Department is launching a new program to combat and prevent hate crimes within the city. The “Safe Place” Program seeks to provide spaces for LGBTQ Community to seek refuge in times of need.

Charleston PD stated, “Since 2018, South Carolina lost four transgender women of color to violence. Overall, the state has seen an increase in reported hate bias incidents from 123 in 2015 to 436 in 2018.”

Officer Terry Cherry is in charge of the project. She began reaching out to businesses in December and has received nearly 65 participants in just a few months.

Businesses and organizations that want to participate in the Safe Place Program must clearly display a sticker in their window. This sticker will acknowledge their commitment to collaborate with Charleston PD to report and reduce hate crimes.

“It says that they support LGBTQ people who are victims of harassment or intimidation,” says Officer Cherry, “they can come into the establishment and seek refuge and the employees will help call the police.”

Once the police arrive on scene they can take care of the situation properly. The program hopes to instill a “no tolerance” policy towards discrimination.

The 65 businesses and organizations participating in the program have been trained on the responsibilities of displaying the Safe Place sticker.

Officer Cherry hopes that the program will inspire other neighboring cities to follow suit as well as influence anti-hate crime legislation in the future.

“I think it’s a visible display of how the community and police department feel about people being treated unfairly or being victimized about who they are,” she says.

Businesses or organizations that would like to participate in the SAFE PLACE Program, please reach out to Officer Terry Cherry at cherryt@charleston-sc.gov or (843) 720-2470.

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