The Virginia Beach Police Department has named its first liaison to the LGBT community, modeling a program after one Norfolk started in 2015.
The position will be filled by Sgt. Michele “Shelly” Meister. She joined the department 2002 and has been a sergeant since June 2013, according to a release. She is the first line supervisor of the department’s Ready Response Team in the Operations Division.
The city’s Human Rights Commission and Hampton Roads Pride unanimously approved and endorsed the position, according to the Police Department’s announcement. Meister will be a resource for members of the LGBT community who are victims of violent crimes and “crimes motivated by hate,” the department’s release said.
“Often times these crimes go unreported, resulting in a cycle of violence that sadly will continue unless effective intervention strategies can be brought to bear on the matter,” the release said.
“The Department recognizes and values the importance of community outreach and the need to ensure that all of members of the community are treated with respect and dignity,” the release said. “This new position will provide opportunities for any person who feels the need to express their concerns or opinions regarding the manner in which the Virginia Beach Police Department pursues its mission to serve and protect.”