Capitol Police rolled out a progressive new policy on Oct. 29 for handling interactions with transgender individuals.
The six-page directive, obtained by CQ Roll Call, instructs officers on security screening, frisks, medical treatment and arrests for a population that the Justice Department defines as particularly vulnerable.
One of the most high-profile cases in police treatment of transgender people centered on the Washington Metropolitan Police Department's mistreatment of Patti Hammond Shaw, a transgender female who filed a landmark suit involving MPD and members of the U.S. Marshals.
"It's one thing to have a good policy in place; it's another how it is communicated and implemented," Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, executive director of ACLU of the Nation's Capital said in an interview. "With Patti Shaw, there was a decent policy in place."
Already, the rank and file are bristling at the new directive. The Capitol Police union said it opposed "giving any special provisions based on gender and/or sexuality," according to an internal email obtained by CQ Roll Call.
But the top brass takes pride in its policy, which mirrors the policy MPD agreed to after agreeing to an undisclosed monetary settlement with Shaw in 2014.
The ACLU said there's nothing "particularly terrible" about the Capitol Police policy, which requires cops to ask transgender individuals if they object to being searched by a male or female officer, among other provisions.
Only one provision could be improved, Hopkins-Maxwell said. It mandates transgender arrestees be placed alone in holding cells, even when more than one transgender person is in custody at the same time. It's a guideline Hopkins-Maxwell said has "no basis, unless they specifically request to be separated."