Columbus Police Getting Pushback Over ‘Pride Cruiser’

The cruiser is manned by an openly gay officer.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Columbus, Ohio Police Department has received pushback for their “Pride Cruiser,” rolled out in the month of June.
  • The department released a video of its new unit and the officer driving it, Officer Lutz, giving a tour of the vehicle, which is painted with a rainbow stripe.
  • “I’m your LGBTQIA+ liaison officer and we are unveiling… our pride cruiser for the month of June!” the officer said in the video posted last week.
  • The cruiser includes a heart sporting the phrase “love is love,” with a rainbow background and “Report hate crimes” written down the side.
  • Social media users called out the city for putting resources toward the cause.
THE OFFICER IN CHARGE:
  • Local news reported that the officer in charge of the Pride Cruiser is openly gay, which has impacted his service with the police department: “Lutz says being openly gay has created unique challenges and opportunities. He says he loves his division and the support he’s gotten from fellow officers through the years. He also views it as a way to get involved, help change policies and be a resource that can benefit everyone,” the report stated.
  • “Still, he says his sexuality can sometimes become a negative focal point while on scene. That’s when, he says, he often needs to table his own thoughts or feelings and, instead, refocus on de-escalation,” the report went on to say.
  • Lutz weighed in saying, “Though my identity has been called into question by people interacting with [me] on the street…that happened obviously during the civil unrest [in May of 2020]… I never let that be a place where that’s the time to have a political conversation.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Cities across the nation have implemented a more LGBTQ-friendly police force.
  • New York, Pittsburg, and several Florida cities, as well as other states, have created what they call “LGBTQI+ liaison” cars for the month of June.