A first for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. They will show their support for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender community by marching in the pride parade on Saturday.While I'm on record as supporting same sex marriage and think my Republican Party need to be more sensitive to the legitimate civil rights issues raised by the GBLT community, I am very troubled by uniformed police officers on the clock being active participants in this event. It is inevitably that this event will be highlighting important political issues faced by the GBLT community, as well it should. Participation in the parade can't but help signify a person's support for the GBLT's political positions. That's fine for a police officer off duty and not in uniform. It's a different story when they're getting paid with tax dollars and wearing uniforms riding in police cars or walking.
We're all used to seeing the motorcycle drill team in the Indianapolis 500 Parade and the mounted units at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, but for the first time ever our officers will actually be participating in the Gay Pride Parade.
Indy's Gay Pride Parade has come a long way since 2005 when it featured one float and a few drag queens. Fast forward six years, and spectators can expect to see hundreds of attractions, crowds in the thousands and now members of our city's finest marching right in the middle of the action.
The uniformed officers will be riding in the department issued Humvee and have specific direction to not decorate the car, change the car in any way or add anything to their uniforms.
But the fact that the officers will be participating while on the clock is troubling some. "The majority of Hoosiers and probably the majority of folks in Indianapolis if they actually went to the Gay Pride Parade and see the activities that goes on there would be shocked to see our taxpayer dollars going to have our men and women in uniform through the police and fire department march in that kind of a parade," says Ryan McCann of The Indiana Family Institute.
IMPD spokesperson Linda Jackson says the department doesn't think having officers march in the parade is controversial. "I don't think its an issue of the politics or an issue of anything like that. This is a parade that we would participate in. Anybody who's going to be there is there through the course of their employment in the department."
That's not something I would limit to the gay pride parade. I do not want uniformed police officers, on the clock no less, involved in any political events. Period. It doesn't matter if the subject is immigration, abortion, unlawful police entry into people's homes, defunding Planned Parenthood, same sex marriage, etc. I want police officers at those events doing their job, maintaining order. Crossing the line by becoming actively involved in those events, using tax dollars to participate in an event tinged with politics, is a terrible idea.
Imagine for a second that a group opposed to the GBLT agenda decided to hold a march downtown. Do we want IMPD officers participating in that event in uniform, on the clock? Absolutely not. Yet that's exactly the can of worms you open up when you get into when you start picking and choosing which events paid public servants are going to participate in using our tax dollars.
For an opposite view, please see Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana's column on the subject.